Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: August 16, 2009
By: Laura Deni


Judge Frank Visser
400 years ago Henry Hudson discovered Cape May and the Hudson River - the wet spot where Capt. Sullenberger safely landed that plane.

Numerous events are planned to commemorate Hudson's significant contribution, which cemented the foundation for what is now the New York-New Jersey area.

One of the events is a theatrical long-distance collaboration.

Frank Visser, Dutch television's famous Driving Judge, and East Lynne Theater Company of Cape May have joined together to present a world premiere comedy, People of Cape May v. Johan Van Buren, on Thursday, August 27.

This production, written by and starring Judge Visser, honors the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of Cape May and is co-sponsored by the Cape May 400th Anniversary Committee.

Gayle Stahlhuth, Artistic Director of the East Lynne Theater Company spoke with Broadway To Vegas about this unique venture.

"Events celebrating the founding of Cape May 400 years ago have been going on since February when there was a gala ball. Last August the 400th Anniversary Committee was formed and I was asked to attend some of the meetings," explained Stahlhuth. "Somebody said they thought Mark Kulkowitz, the owner of The Mad Batter Restaurant, knew somebody from Holland. Sure enough, Judge Visser is a friend of his. With that in mind, Judge Visser was invited over to be part of the festivities."

"Frank and his wife Margot will be staying at the Kulkowitz home."

Henry Hudson
In 1609, Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, made the first exploration of what is now New York Harbor and of the majestic river that today bears his name thanks to Hudson’s infamous navigational blunder that stuck his vessel, the Half Moon, on a sandbar somewhere off Cape May Point in Delaware Bay. According to the first mate’s log entry, Captain Hudson thought he was on his way from Jamestown, Virginia to the Near East. It turned out that he was rounding what is now Cape May Point and the ship was actually headed toward New York. Approximately 15 years later, Captain George Mey arrived in Cape May with his ship and proceeded to name this area after himself. Hudson's discovery of the river laid the foundation for the Dutch claim on the area. His voyage of discovery led to the creation of the Dutch West India Company and ultimately to the founding of New Netherland, including its trading post at the mouth of the river - New Amsterdam.

"The irony is that Hudson was English, but the Dutch financed the event," said Stahlhuth. "The Half Moon literally knocked into what became Cape May on August 28 and then Hudson went off and looked around at what became New Amsterdam and is now Manhattan."

Transporting dignitaries from Holland to Cape May has encountered almost as many obstacles as the original voyage.

"In the middle of all of this, the airline they were coming on, which was also bringing some of the other Dutch personalities - folded. That's just the economic situations all over the world," surmised Stahlhuth. "The airline was going to give free transportation to these dignitaries. It was only a month ago that the airline went belly-up. The flight was originally going to land in Philadelphia. They had to find another airline and I think this flight lands in Newark. So, coordinating all of this has been an adventure," she exclaimed.

Consul General Hugo Gajus Scheltema
Marielle van der Linden, Deputy Consul General/Consul for Economic Affairs
Those dignitaries include: Dr. Cees Bakker, Curator of the West Fries Museum in Hoorn, who is giving a lecture on the History of the East India Company on August 29 at Cape Island Baptist Church; Onna van Veldhuizen, Mayor of the City of Hoorn, birthplace of Capt. Cornelus J. Mey; and two officials from the Office of the Consul General of the Netherlands located in New York City, Hugo Gajus Scheltema and Marielle van der Linden."

"They are now coming on the 23rd. The Honorable Frank Visser will rehearse with East Lynne Theater Company on August 24, 25 and 27, and then the performance is that night. Everyone else started rehearsing last Monday."

"There is a private reception at The Chalfonte Hotel, on Aug. 28 for these visitors, and members of the Cape May community. They will be attending East Lynne Theater Company's current production of The Ransom on Red Chief on August. 26, and will also tour the U.S. Coast Guard Base, visit the Cape May Lighthouse, and have lunch at The Emlen Physick Estate Tea Room. On Aug. 29, there will be an all-day Beach Volleyball Tournament, a parade, a Beach Party, a showing of the film Blackbeard's Ghost, outside on the beach. All of these events are free."

"To the best of my knowledge Judge Visser isn't doing anything else in this country. I'm not even sure if he is going up to New York," said Stahlhuth.

Come and see the trial of Johan van Buren, accused of murdering a Swede named Niels Holgerson on July 4, 1654. The trial, being presided over by the Right Honorable Frank Visser, on the authority of the States General of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, by commission of the Governor-General Peter Stuyvesant.

This one-night only special event is as entertaining as an episode of The Driving Judge. On television, Judge Visser - an author, actor, playwright, and a real-life senior national judge who was recently made a Knight of the Royal Order of Orange-Nassau - travels around the Netherlands solving problems and ensuring justice.

Recently he participated in Law Day at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Founded in 1614, it is one of the oldest universities in the world and one of the largest universities in the Netherlands. Visser presided over a court case argued by the school's well-known alumni.

People of Cape May v. Johan Van Buren is also an eye-opening look into the now almost-forgotten rivalry between Dutch and Swedish settlers for control of the Delaware River in present-day South Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

ELTC's artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, corresponding with Judge Visser by e-mail, received the script, assembled a cast, and is directing. The cast includes: Susan Tischler, Tommy Raniszewski, Karen Case Cook, Tom Byrn, Aidan Koehler, Rob LeMaire, and Sara LeMaire.

Tommy Raniszewski is in the role of Johan van Buren, the man seen with the smoking gun - but did he really kill the Swede? Susan Tischler portrays Grietje, the owner of the inn where the murder took place. Sara LeMaire is the grieving wife of the victim, who at the very least wants Johan's horse, saddle, and rifle as retribution. Rob LeMaire is the baker, Hans de Vries, who was playing cards at the inn with the now-dead Swede and Johan. Karen Case Cook and Tom Byrn deliver the Prologue, and Aidan Koehler provides the music with her fiddle-playing.

Others in the cast include Jim McMillan, the popular voice on radio station 1230 WCMC in Wildwood, He plays Hendrick van Zaandam, the mayor, shopkeeper, undertaker, and, when needed, the hangman. Stephanie Garrett is the juror. Bryan McHenry is playing Peter Jansen, the barber who was also in the inn at the time of the shooting.

"Judge Visser and Margot are bringing their costumes from the Netherlands," Stahlhuth reported. "He's playing a 17th century judge dressed in a 17th century judge's costume. Marion Brady, who has designed costumes for most of our ELTC's shows for the last ten years, is helping out with costumes for all of the others in the cast."

The evening begins at The Humphrey Hughes House, where members of the community have the opportunity to meet Frank and Margot Visser and members of the cast, before the show. Then everyone proceeds to The First Presbyterian Church, where ELTC is in residence, to see the trial. East Lynne, an Equity professional theater company, produces classics and history-based contemporary entertainment about the American experience.

Henry Hudson's log book and map
The Netherlands government this year is spending $8 million promoting and staging events and exhibits in New York and elsewhere to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage on the river that would later bear his name.

Other August-September events celebrating Hudson's discovery include; Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson at the Museum of the City of New York, presented in collaboration with the New Netherland Project in Albany and the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam/Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam.

The exhibition invites visitors to consider the voyages of Hudson in the context of the Dutch role in the Age of Exploration, and as the first link between the Dutch civilization and culture of the Old World and that of the colony that they would soon build in the New. The multicultural, dynamic colony that grew up there was profoundly shaped by its Dutch origins, which continued to influence its development even after the Dutch ceded the young colony to the British in 1664.

Rare 16th-and 17th-century objects, images, and documents from major American and Dutch collections are used to bring the transatlantic world to life and reveal how Henry Hudson's epic third voyage of exploration planted the seeds of a modern society that took root and flourished in the New World.

On display through September 27, the exhibit focuses on the economic, cultural, and ideological connections that ultimately linked two global cities, Amsterdam and New York, Amsterdam/New Amsterdam illuminates not only the global significance of Hudson's voyage, but also the creative context out of which the exploration and settlement of New York itself arose, highlighting the Dutch role in creating the very character of New York as a place of opportunity, tolerance, and perpetual transformation.

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U2 stage. Photo:Architen Landrell
Three lucky communities are about to have their local parks turned into performance venues - thanks to U2 - who are giving away the three state of the art stages they are using on their current world tour.

The band's current 360 tour uses three different stage structures, each in the shape of a giant claw. The stages are used in rotation - one live, one being dismantled and one being set up. The touring stages are some of the biggest ever constructed. Each 193 foot high, 390 ton stage is transported in 180 trucks with four days set up time in each location.

The stage was a collaboration between the lead architects Mark Fisher Studio which specializes as architects for production designers, and show directors for live entertainment including Cher and the Cirque du Soleil Ka shows in Las Vegas; structural engineers Atelier One; the steel company Stage Co and Architen Landrell, who made the green PVC fabric which covers the structure, an estimated 4,900 sq ft in total for each stage.

Teams of architectural employees were flown to Barcelona for the first two shows last month to set up the stage and to provide guidance and assistance during the performances. For the tour, it was required that each stage be assembled and dismantled 45 times.

Each stage cost between $24M and $33M.

The fabric was a blackout fabric so the steelwork underneath would be concealed. "The outer is a very light green color chosen by the band. It's just not white and not green. I think it was mostly for lighting - it's close enough to white so it doesn't interfere with it." Project Manager Kate Cox of Architen Landrell. Photo:Architen Landrell.

"The primary purpose of the fabric membrane is to cover the main steel trussing and to provide shelter from the rain and sun for the band below. The band members, who were very involved in the initial stages of set design, were keen to cover up all steel which may be on show and entirely remove it from sight. Fabric cladding proved an economical and effective solution to achieve this," according to Architen.

"However, the structure required far more than traditional cladding. Groups of multi-conic fabric structures cover an octagonal PA truss system supported by four giant arched legs. The design is diagonally symmetrical but incredibly complex so no two areas look the same."

The structure is visually enhanced by the gigantic steel structure supporting it and the dramatic stage lighting. At the top point of every conic is an orange disc lit internally with a cluster of lights giving the impression of a glowing pulse point. In addition to the dramatic fabric membrane, the center of the structure also houses a vertical LED pylon and an elliptical, retractable video screen, both designed as interactive staging elements during the live show," stated the company. "Outside the practicalities, the scheme is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic staging structures created; designed for impact and drama and to impress those watching the show below."

"The project incorporated a specific color run of fabric to meet the design requirements," continued Architen. "The PVC coated polyester blackout fabric was manufactured by Serge Ferrari to a specific RAL color chosen by the band. PVC coated polyester fabrics are an industry standard for this type of use, however, in this instance the flexibility of the fabric also helped to achieve the architect’s vision and the complex geometry of the forms. The membrane plates were sprayed to be the same color as the fabric and therefore remain as concealed as possible and not detract from the overall impression."

"The design of the conics was carefully planned but involved a very straight edge combined with a very deep valley – a difficult shape to create. This, along with the diagonal symmetry, meant that the geometry of the structure was extremely complex and required heavy patterning to achieve the correct curvature. The fabric had to be engineered very carefully as there was no adjustment in the steelwork; the fabric had to fix at predetermined points and could only be adjusted minimally on site."

As one of the world’s largest touring stage sets there were a lot of people involved in the production and installation. Project Manager Kate Cox spent a lot of time flying between Brussels, Barcelona and the UK offices to make sure all went smoothly.

U2 stage - "This is just by far one of the largest staging structures, if not the largest, ever to be put together." Project Manager Kate Cox of Architen Landrell. Photo:Architen Landrell.

"As is traditional in the world of rock and pop, we had to work with a very fast turnaround. From placement of order to the consignment of the structure to Barcelona for first fitting only spanned 9 weeks," emphasized the company. "This meant that there was no time for test run and no time for off site development of the design – all aspects had to be spot on from the word go or designed to be adjustable on site."

Last Friday the band played to 88,000 people at Wembley, breaking the record by more than 5,000 Wembley's previous crowd record is 83,000 who saw Rod Stewart perform there in 1995. U2 concludes the current tour in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on August 22. The tour then picks up next month in America.

"My vision, which I've been discussing with the band, is that we will turn them (the three stages) into concert pavilions," tour architect Mark Fisher said. "Part of the tour will finish in Australia and another part of the tour will finish in South America, where people could use a nice concert pavilion in a park, which has an ability to take 200 tons of kit hanging under it," he said.

"It's a fairly useful thing."


Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian
with the release of the hit movie interest has been rekindled about Julia Child. That infamous kitchen of hers was donated to the Smithsonian in 2001 and opened to the public in 2002. See Broadway To Vegas column of August 18, 2002

On July 29 writer and director Nora Ephron officially donated several objects from the set of her new Columbia Pictures’ release Julie & Julia to the National Museum of American History in a special ceremony. The film is based on the true stories of Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep) and Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) - a woman who cooked her way through Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blogged about it.

“Julia Child was a pioneer in the culinary world for bridging the gap between French cuisine and the American audience,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “We are pleased to collect objects from a film that depicts Child’s contributions to the American table and life in general.”

The objects will be preserved in the museum’s collection of music, sports and entertainment history and include a costume Streep wore in her leading role as Child, an annotated script and photographs taken on-set, among other items. The collection tracks how entertainment reflects and propels everyday American life, and the objects from the set allow the museum to show an image of Child as portrayed by one of America’s greatest actresses. This motion picture represents the meeting of three influential women: Child, Ephron and Streep.

Curator Paula Johnson installs copper pots on Julia Child’s blue-painted pegboard in the Julia Child's Kitchen exhibition at the National Museum of American History, July 29, 2009. Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian
The museum preserves and displays Childs’s original kitchen from her Cambridge, Mass., home. The 14-by-20-foot kitchen was the testing site of numerous recipes and doubled as the set for three of her cooking series on PBS. Child donated the kitchen in 2001 when she decided to move back to California where she grew up. Curators and historic restoration experts carefully disassembled and then reassembled the cabinets and appliances for the museum’s exhibition Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian. The National Museum of American History recently acquired the previously “missing” wall of copper pots and utensils that belonged to Child. Thirty gleaming French copper pots and pans and the original painted pegboard on which they hung in her house in Cambridge, Mass., have been added to the original exhibition. The blue-painted pegboard shows an outline for each pot and pan, drawn by husband Paul Child, to ensure each object would be returned to its place on the wall after use.

In addition, the wall contains eight blacksteel crepe pans, four cast-iron baking pans, a giant tea ball and a branding iron with the initials “JC,” all of which will be added to the exhibition. Many of these objects were bought by the Childs during their time in France (1948-52) and used for 45 years following their return to the United States.

Just prior to her gift of the kitchen to the Smithsonian in 2001, Child lent the wall of pots to a California cultural institution where it was exhibited until 2008. Child’s family then offered the now-legendary pots and pans to the Smithsonian to be reunited with the rest of the kitchen, bringing the more than 1,000 artifacts together again for the first time since 2001 in a long-term display. The newly installed wall completes the 14-by-20-foot kitchen.

Step into the quirky and humorous world of Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl with Snozzcumbers and Frobscottle, a celebration of the coming together of two amazing creative forces.

Dahl's extraordinary stories, such as The Twits; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and George's Marvellous Medicine, are a must-read for children, brought perfectly to life through Blake's unique illustrations.

Roald Dahl's weird, wonderful and sometimes scary stories have delighted children all over the world. Dahl's crazy imagination has come up with such unforgettable characters as Miss Trunchball, The Witches and The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant). However, as magical and crazy as Dahl's stories are it's unlikely that they would have reached their cult status without the genius that is Quentin Blake. Blake's illustrations took Dahl's ideas and gave them a shape and form, moving them from imagination into living, breathing things.

The latest exhibition from the V and A's Museum of Childhood celebrates these two great childhood legends This traveling exhibition brings together original manuscripts and illustrations as well as unique Dahl-related objects and interactive exhibits and activities exploring the creative process including a tape of Dahl reading his stories and a filmed interview with Blake about how the two worked together. A must for all Roald Dahl fans of any age. Through September 6 at the Museum of Childhood, London.

presented by The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, celebrating 50 years since the original release of the classic animated feature from Walt Disney Studios.

Once Upon A Dream explores the creation of one of Walt Disney Studios’ most enduring films, from pencil art and model sheets to animation cels, color guides and behind-the-scenes photographs of the cast and crew. Almost ten years in the making, Sleeping Beauty was designed to look like no other Disney film, drawing from both medieval illustrations and cutting-edge 1950s graphic design.

Artist Eyvind Earle, who supervised the film’s look and hand-painted most of the dozens of lavish backgrounds, gave the film its unique blend of lush detail and bold, stylized designs. Disney production designer Ken Anderson developed these elements into a visually arresting feature, much of it animated by members of the Nine Old Men, Walt Disney’s most trusted cadre of animators.

Sleeping Beauty was the last Disney film to use fully hand-inked animation cels and one of only two ever filmed in 70mm widescreen. A box-office hit when it premiered in 1959, it’s now renowned as one of the most beautiful and beloved animated films ever made.

This exhibition also includes a spotlight on Disney artist/illustrator Ron Dias, whose first professional job in the animation industry was as an in-betweener to clean-up animator on Sleeping Beauty. Dias went on to become one of the most highly-regarded and sought-after background artists and color stylists in the business. The Cartoon Art Museum features a selection of his background paintings and color concepts from The Secret of Nimh; Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and The Little Mermaid.

In 1956, Ron Dias, an 18-year-old kid fresh from Hawaii, came to Hollywood to work for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. After finishing his assignment in the Animation Department on Sleeping Beauty, Ron worked throughout Hollywood as a scenic artist for 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures and MGM Studios. He returned to the animation field to work with such studios as Hanna-Barbera (Jonny Quest), Warner Brothers (Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny), Don Bluth (The Secret of Nimh), and many others, ending with Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid feature and television series.

In recent years, Dias has created artwork for Disney Imagineering’s Disney Seas murals in Tokyo, Japan, and has collaborated with noted marine life painter Wyland on a series of paintings featuring characters from The Little Mermaid. Dias now lives in central California and has gone full circle with his career, creating fine art as he was trained to do at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. He is still actively creating work for the Disney Studios, as well.

An opening night reception took place last night with special guest Ron Dias who discussed his career as an animation artist and illustrator. The exhibit is on display through January 10, 2010 at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.


(Left to Right) Rahuul Rawail, Ahmed Ahsan, and David Lee Strasberg announcing the launch of The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute - India
The prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute is opening branches in India.

A school will open in the country's entertainment capital, Mumbai, next June, and a second will be established in the southern city of Hyderabad, which has one of the country's best-equipped shooting and production centers for both Hindi-language - Bollywood - and other regional language films.

In a contract with co-founder Anna Strasberg and CEO David Lee Strasberg, they have entered into an agreement to develop the first Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute India which will offer students the only sanctioned “Method” training facility outside of the US.

Currently, there are two Strasberg Theater and Film Institutes operating in America; at their headquarters in New York City and in Los Angeles. The Strasberg Institute India will be run by veteran Bollywood Director Rahuul Rawail. The venture is a partnership with Optimus Management Group, of Hartford, Connecticut.

One of the goals of the Strasberg invasion is to discover new generations of talent and make them household names across the world. Despite high-profile Bollywood's massive following at home and among the Indian diaspora abroad, few of its stars have successfully crossed over into Hollywood or Western cinema.

Bollywood director Rahul Rawail, chief executive of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute India, told a press gathering that with the Lee Strasberg Institute's respected reputation and emphasis on method acting, this new venture will change that.

"I'm sure internationally there will be some kind of understanding that India now has a Lee Strasberg Institute. That will have a psychological impact on people," he said. "It will be taken a little more seriously." Lee Strasberg, Oscar-nominated for his role as Jewish mobster Hyman Roth in The Godfather Part II, set up a school for the performing arts in 1969 after years of involvement with the Actors Studio in New York.

His teaching, said to have revolutionized actor training in the United States, inspired many of Hollywood's major names from James Dean, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro to Julia Roberts and Scarlett Johansson.

Teaching in India will parallel the acting programs taught in the United States, including method acting - the use of emotions and reactions from an actor's own life in the character they play - directing, cinematography, sound and editing.

Courses will range from 18 months to intensive six-to-12-week sessions, where aspiring actors could be joined by more established names in the business. Fees will be "competitive" with other acting schools already in India, Rawail said.

The development comes at a time that interest in Indian filmmaking captured the spotlight thanks to Slumdog Millionaire, the British movie about a poor Mumbai tea boy that virtually swept the awards at this year's Oscars.

Recently, 20th Century Fox announced a global distribution deal for top Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan's upcoming movie My Name Is Khan, the first time it will finance and market a mainstream Bollywood movie worldwide.

An increasing number of Hollywood studios and companies are forging joint ventures with Indian movie houses, hoping to tap into a $2.2 billion market that is expected to grow at nearly 12 percent every year until 2013.

"This is an exciting step for us at Strasberg, where we have a chance to share my father’s work with the vibrant and active creative community that calls Bollywood home," declared Strasberg's son David. "Our work always starts with the human being, and in that way the acting work is universal. I believe that the actors there are hungry for the best training in the world, and at the same time our community can be enriched by the incredible experience and texture of Indian culture."

The India Faculty members will travel to New York to be trained in the method established by Lee Strasberg.

"I am very excited to be working with Rahuul Rawail and Ahmed Ahsan to provide training at the same level as we offer in New York and Los Angeles."

"Ahmed and Rahuul have worked diligently with me and with our President, Victoria Krane, to make this new school a reality. Now comes the fun part, as we put the foundation in place for a world-class institute worthy of my father and the actors who will be coming to us to pursue their dream."


DEFYING INEQUALITY an evening of cabaret performances promoting equality and civil rights. Hosted and produced by the first National Touring Company of Wicked.

Held at the Birch North Park Theatre, the event will feature members of the cast and crew of Wicked as well as guest performers. This one-night only event will benefit Equality California, Empire State Pride Agenda, Garden State Equality and Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, four non-profit charitable organizations working to legislate equality and protect civil rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. All proceeds will be distributed evenly among the four organizations.

Defying Inequality is an evening intended for mature audiences. The evening will feature musical performances that support Wicked's theme of acceptance and illuminate the musical’s message that people should not be judged on first impressions, and that in these divisive times we must come together to support one another’s rights throughout the country and around the world.

Performers include Donna Vivino (Elphaba), Nina West (2008 National Entertainer of the Year), Alison Arngrim (Little House on the Prairie) San Diego’s own Judy "The Beauty" Forman as well as many members of the cast of the First National Touring Company of Wicked.

The evening will also feature live and silent auctions, including an opportunity to bid on an onstage appearance in Wicked at the Civic Theatre, other show-related items, as well as Marriage Equality USA T-shirts.

Monday, August 24 at the Birch North Park Theatre in San Diego, CA.

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown takes place August 20-22 as a benefit for the Patrick Michael McMurphy Memorial Foundation.

McMurphy, 23, of Potomac died August 30, 2008 of head injuries sustained in a fall. Scholarships, administered by the Stella Adler Studio of Acting School in New York City, benefit someone a lot like Patrick McMurphy, who had, just weeks before his death at age 23, realized that he wanted to be an actor.

The event takes place at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row in NYC.


The Follies Jill Gordon departing Jamaica for her return to the United States. Getting through security wasn't easy.
the world famous troupe noted for their age oblivious, long legged lovelies, now allow the ladies (and one of the gentlemen) to wear their headdresses outside the theater. Jill Gordon knew a photo opt when she heard one and seized the opportunity to wear her costume as she boarded the plane for her return flight from Jamaica to Palm Springs. Her feathered heart adornment, which is attached to a backpack, had to be crammed into the long overhead bin. Follies officials report that; "Unfortunately, flight attendants just gave her hell during final boarding."

Other Follies cast members spend their summer break traveling to Scottsdale, Park City, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Carlsbad; Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and Iowa; and Canada and Germany.

The next Follies edition Let The Good Times Roll staged at the historic Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, CA runs from October 28, 2009 through May 16, 2010. Featuring song and dance from the 1930s through the 1960s, the four world-famous guest stars are Susan Anton, The Four Acts, Rita Coolidge and Mary Wilson.

PRIVATE LIVES REVEALED: THE LETTERS OF NOEL COWARD A Musical Revue written and hosted by Barry Day and starring Steve Ross, Edward Hibbert, Dana Ivey, and Stefanie Morse.

Coward’s letters reveal what he called “his secret heart,” and his lively correspondence with remarkable people such as Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo, Virginia Woolf and Ian Fleming, among hundreds of others, shows another side of this brilliant twentieth century Renaissance man. Sunday, August 23 at Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY.

RUBEN BLADES-IN HIS OWN WORDS The Smithsonian Latino Center and the National Museum of American History present an onstage conversation between legendary Panamanian musician, composer and actor Rubén Blades and curator Marvette Pérez about his viewpoints, memories and experiences related to the history of Latin music in the United States.

Thursday, Sept. 24 in the Carmichael Auditorium at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.


SPIDER MAN, TURN OFF THE DARK the new Julie Taymor musical with music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge and a book by Taymor and Glen Berger, has temporarily suspended production. Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark is currently scheduled to begin previews at Broadway's Hilton Theatre Feb. 25, 2010. Published reports claim that work stoppage will not affect the preview date. Insiders feel otherwise.

PAULA VOGEL the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist is the Honoree Playwright of the 29th Annual William Inge Theatre Festival, in Independence, Kansas, produced by the William Inge Center for the Arts at Independence Community College, Independence, KS.

Vogel will be present all four days of the Inge Festival, April 21-24, of 2010. At the Tribute ceremony April 24, Vogel will accept the annual Inge Festival Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award.

Vogel joins the list of previous celebrated Distinguished Honorees, which includes Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Neil Simon, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim. She is the fourth woman to be named Honoree, preceded by Betty Comden (1990), Wendy Wasserstein (1993), and Tina Howe (2005).

BODIES THE EXHIBITION celebrated its 3rd anniversary in Las Vegas and its 1st anniversary at the Luxor Hotel. This is a not to be missed exhibit. See Broadway To Vegas column of September 3, 2006

Since opening, the exhibition has been viewed by over 300,000, inspiring more than 500 to quit smoking and 1,000 to sign up as organ donors.

In Las Vegas Bodies: The Exhibition is at the Luxor Hotel. Other cities hosting Bodies: The Exhibition are New York City, Atlanta, Bloomington, MN, Cologne, Germany and Quebec City, Canada.

ROGER WILLIAMS celebrated his 5,000th concert when he performed this weekend at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas. Known as Mr. Piano, the music legend has recorded 116 albums.

MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL has celebrated its 1,600th show in Las Vegas. Currently calling the Luxor Hotel home, the Vegas production has entertained more than 500,000 people.


DAME KIRI TE KANAWA one of the most famous figures of the opera world is retiring from the opera, after a career spanning four decades. She is 65. The New Zealand-born star, who sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, last sang opera in Samuel Barber's Vanessa, at the Los Angeles Opera, in 2004.

Next month she will perform with three young singers at the Tower of London, billed as A Gala Night of Opera. Dame Kiri will also appear in the New York Metropolitan Opera's production of Donizetti's La Fille Du Regiment, in February. Her last opera performance will be at the Cologne Opera, in Germany, in April 2010, when she plays the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss.

She now spends a lot of time working with and mentoring future opera stars through the Solti Academy and her Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.

BROOKS AND DUNN the best-selling country duo who've raked up 23 No. 1 hits posted a message on its Web site last Monday saying they've agreed to "call it a day" after 20 years of making music together.

"This ride has been everything and more than we could ever have dreamed ... We owe it all to you, the fans," Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn said in the message. "If you hear rumors, don't believe them, it's just time."

Brooks & Dunn will release a greatest-hits album on Sept. 8 and tour one last time in 2010.

Priscilla Presley-standing by the Elvis bust - had her first look at the Cirque du Soleil show inspired by the life and music of Elvis Presley in Montreal. Picture Cirque du Soleil
has been rehearsing for the past few months at the Cirque du Soleil Creation Studio in Montreal. Last week the 78 performers relocated to Las Vegas, where they were welcomed at McCarran Airport by members of other Las Vegas Cirque productions.

The Presley-Cirque performers will begin rehearsing on stage at the new theatre at AROA Resort and Casino where the show is set to open in December.

Executive Producer is Stéphane Mongeau; Director of Creation Armand Thomas and Production Manager Mike Anderson head up the team.

The production pays tribute to Elvis' music and life, fusing dance and acrobatics, live music and iconic tracks, nostalgia and modernity, high technology and raw emotion. In short, the show will be in Elvis' image: powerful, sexy, whimsical and truly unique.

MR. SENSITIVITY a World Premiere farce by Bryon Nilsson. Directed by David Barcker.

Grady, a bookish man buys his wife what he feels is truly the ultimate surprise birthday present: a romp with famed adult film actor Barry Woodman. Although wife Tiffany has never expressed the slightest interest in sleeping with another man, Grady suspects that she’s secretly wanted to. Woodman arrives ready for action, but the hapless husband begins to get cold feet when he realizes how conflicted he is about giving his wife to another man. Grady is relieved when Tiffany is initially shocked and disgusted by the insensitive nature of Grady’s gift (and of Woodman himself)...but before long, she becomes aroused by the idea.

Featured in the cast: Jefferson Slinkard, who was in the Las Vegas cast of Broadway’s Mamma Mia, David Sedgwick, Kate Hettesheimer and Caroline Lawton.

Performances August 16-30 at the Soho Theatre in NYC.

VERANOS DE LA VILLA Madrid's main summer event, which gathers major national and foreign artists, making the Madrid nights come alive with music, dance and theatre. The event lasts through August 23 with the presentation this week of Flamenco Today by Carlos Saura. Chano Domínguez serves as Musical Director.

An exhibition of the Andalusian genre, with interplay of instruments, echoing voices and the silhouettes of dancing bodies.

The magic is provided by the skill of the performers, magnificent, youthful and fascinating artists. It is structured as a compendium, a coherent anthology of flamenco's historical repertoire that touches on other similar musical forms from Spain and the rest of the world. This full-bodied display of deeply-rooted tradition is based on discipline and the spark that dazzles and moves. Darkness, gypsy magic rears its head and fuses with jazz.

Starring Rocío Molina, Pastora Galván, Rafael Estévez, Nani Paños (dance), David Palomar, Jesús Méndez (vocals).

Set design by Laura Martínez.

August 19-23 at the Escenario Puerta del Angel in Madrid, Spain.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: MAKING GOOD featuring the West Coast Premiere of songs from his new opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Musical Direction by Charity Wicks & Chris Bratten. Directed by Billy Porter.

Starring Terrence Mann, Tracie Thoms, Opera Star Lauren Flanigan, Michael Arden, Valarie Pettiford, Matt Cusson, Nathan Lee Graham, David Burnham, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Elizabeth Brackenbury, Barrett Foa, Audra Mae, Michael Marcotte, Katy Mixon, Nicole Parker, Hila Plitmann, Aaron Refvem, Tami Tappan Damiano, Ty Taylor and Brenna Whitaker.

Followed by a second act extravaganza featuring Upright Cabaret All-Star performers interpreting Schwartz’s most popular songs including Defying Gravity; The Wizard & I; Popular; Day by Day; Corner of the Sky; Magic to Do and Morning Glow.

One night only, Sunday, August 23 at the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, CA.

SAMMY Book, Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Additional Songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Directed by Keith Glover. Choreography by Keith Young.

Featuring the classic tunes that helped to make Sammy Davis, Jr. an icon, Sammy traces the struggles and triumphs of the ultimate triple-threat singer, actor and dancer.

Previews begin September 19 at the Old Globe in San Diego. Casting has been completed.

The cast includes: Heather Ayers (May Britt/Ensemble), Obba Babatundé (Sammy), Ann Duquesnay (Rosa Davis), Mary Ann Hermansen (Kim Novak/Ensemble), Adam James (Frank Sinatra), Troy Britton Johnson (Dean Martin/Cohn/Jennings/Ensemble), Ted Louis Levy (Sammy Davis, Sr.), Keewa Nurullah (Lola Folana/Ensemble), Victoria Platt (Altovise Gore/Ensemble), Lance Roberts (Will Mastin), Alonzo Saunders (Murphy/Ensemble/understudy Sammy), Sarrah Strimel (Luella/Hedda/Ensemble) with Jenelle Engleson, Stephanie Girard, Lauren Haughton and Anise Ritchie (Ensemble).

The creative team is: Alexander Dodge (Scenic Design), Fabio Toblini (Costume Design), Chris Lee (Lighting Design), John Shivers (Sound Design), Ned Ginsburg (Orchestrator), Rahn Coleman (Music Director/Conductor), Ian Fraser (Music Supervision), Dominique Kelley (Assistant Choreographer), Tara Rubin Casting (Casting) and David Sugarman (Stage Manager).

QUARTERMAINE'S TERMS written by Simon Gray. Directed by Tony-nominated Maria Aitken.

This charming and heart-felt 1960’s comedy follows an eccentric group of English teachers in Cambridge whose insatiable quest for knowledge has masked their secret longings for passion, romance, and true happiness.

The production stars Jeremy Beck, Ann Dowd, Morgan Hallett, John Horton, Simon Jones, Stephen Kunken and Jefferson Mays.

Quartermaine’s Terms runs through the 23rd and concludes the 55th Anniversary Season of the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA.

A CLASS REUNION WITH RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS' BILL MEDLEY AND PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS have teamed up and this year moved their act to the Moon River Theatre in Branson, MO.

Grammy Award winning, Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame inductee, and legendary performing artist, the Righteous Brothers' Bill Medley, with Paul Revere and the Raiders, offers a powerful mix of "blue-eyed soul", old-time rock-n-roll, and rhythm and blues. Past Righteous Brothers' number one hits like You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin; Unchained Melody and You're My Soul and Inspiration, along with hits from Paul Revere and the Raiders such as Just Like Me; Hungry and Indian Reservation are just a few of the many chart topping numbers these groups made famous.

In show geared to those who graduated between 1965-75 and who'd enjoy a walk down memory lane. Patrons are invited to enjoy the show and then get a pass for a meet and greet where fans are invited to share stories, get an autograph and shake hands.

During the month of August shows are nightly except Monday and Friday. During September performances include matinee shows Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with evening shows on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.


PETER, PAUL AND MARY celebrate 5 decades of friendship - Due to the lingering effects of her treatment for cancer, Mary Travers will be unable to perform at this performance. However, Peter and Noel Paul will perform for the Trio’s loyal audience in tribute to their nearly 50-year collaboration and dear friendship with Mary Saturday, August 22, at the Filene Center - Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA.

MOTLEY CRUE on stage Tuesday, August 18, at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmfel, NJ. On Wednesday the tour stops at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA. Friday finds the group at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, VA and on Saturday they perform at the Pavilion at Stone Ridge in Bristow, VA.

ROD STEWART rocks and croons Monday at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. On Tuesday he performs at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Thursday finds him at the BOK Center in Tulsa. Saturday the show is at the Post-Gazette Pavilion in Burgettstown, PA. Next Sunday he can be enjoyed at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, VA.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA hosted by Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge. A comedy and musical variety show with Barry Levitt on keyboard and Morrie Louden on bass. This week's guests include: Helene Feldman, Jillian Laurain, Travis Moser, and Alan Palmer. August 19 at the Iguana Club in New York City.

MADONNA performs Tuesday, August 18 at the Olympiastadion in Munich, Germany. On Thursday the show is at the Hippodrome Stadium in Ljybljana, Slovenia and on Saturday the tour stops at Kincsem Park in Budapest.

U2 wraps up their over-the-pond tour this week with performances Tuesday at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. On Thursday the show is at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield, England and on Saturday the final European tour stop is at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. UK.

DREW GRESS AND 7 BLACK BUTTERFLIES Bassist/composer Drew Gress performs extensively with artists on the cutting edge of contemporary improvised music. His latest recording as a leader, 7 Black Butterflies (Premonition Records), features nine of Gress’ newest original compositions. When Gress is not leading his own ensembles, he can be heard within those of Ralph Alessi, Tim Berne, Uri Caine, Gerald Cleaver, Ravi Coltrane, Marc Copland, Fred Hersch, John Hollenbeck, Tony Malaby, and Mat Maneri. Wednesday August 26 in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center. The program is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.


LES PAUL the legendary guitarist who invented the design of the solid body Gibson electric guitars that bore his name, died Thursday August 12, 2009 at a hospital in White Plains, New York hospital of complications from pneumonia. He was 94.

Between the years 1950-54, Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford had 16 top-ten hits that included Mockin' Bird Hill and the influential How High the Moon, which featured some of Paul's recording innovations, such as multi-layered tracks. In 1951 alone, they sold six million records.

In 1953 the couple began their television series, The Les Paul and Mary Ford at Home Show. In 1955 they gave a concert at Carnegie Hall, and the following year they performed for President Dwight Eisenhower at the White House.

Born June 9, 1915 in Wisconsin, Paul is the only person to be a member in the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

He was precded in death by Mary Ford who died of complications from diabetes at the age of 53. Les Paul is survived by three sons, a daughter, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. A private funeral will be held in New York at a later date.

Next Column: August 23, 2009
Copyright: August 16, 2009. 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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Laura Deni