Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: August 30, 2009
By: Laura Deni


Deborah Senn
All of the political polls showed her far ahead. She had a boatload of endorsements. It was almost guaranteed that she would win. Then something happened - she lost.

In 2004 Deborah Senn made headlines in a Washington state campaign against Rob McKenna. Though Senn led in the polls throughout the race, her opposition ran last-minute television ads later deemed to be illegal. The campaign and subsequent dirty tricks' maneuver have been turned into a play, Until the Last Dog Dies - billed as a hilarious and poignant story about the successful effort of evil outside interests to capture and control Washington's 2004 race for attorney general.

The play will be presented as a staged reading September 11-12 at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) in Seattle Washington.

Deborah Senn spoke with Broadway To Vegas about her take-no-prisoners play.

"I had every endorsement you need to win this race, but basically the election was highjacked by the US Chamber of Commerce. Millions of dollars were spent in negative ads so they could control the message. The US Chamber of Commerce made me the number one targeted race to defeat for attorney general. They also targeted Supreme Court justices to defeat."


"Because they are really trying, single handedly to change the justice system to be more pro business oriented. It's a scandal. The ads always were wrong, but they were also illegal."


In August of 2005 King County Superior Court Judge Richard Jones ruled that the $1.5 million in vicious attack ads run against Deborah Senn on the eve of the Democratic primary for Attorney General, constituted “express advocacy” by urging voters to vote against Senn. The court also held that the so-called Voter Education Committee (VEC) illegally failed to identify its funding source (the US Chamber of Commerce) and register as a political committee.

In upholding the regulatory actions of the Public Disclosure Commission, the judge soundly rejected the VEC’s claims that they had a First Amendment right to keep secret the corporate funding. The judge ruled that WA voters are entitled to truthful and accurate information in ads designed to influence the vote.

Deborah Senn speech making on the campaign train
In a press release, Senn said that the legal victory sets the stage for legal proceedings against the VEC and the US Chamber of Commerce that could impose stiff financial penalties for the illegal ads.

“This is an important victory for the voters’ right to know and to protect the electoral process against massive last minute negative campaign ads funded by out of state interests who are attempting to illegally sway voters in Washington State.”

According to Senn’s attorney, Mike Withey, the anti-Senn ads were part of a national campaign by the US Chamber to defeat judicial and attorney general candidates nationwide who had a record of being pro-consumer and protecting the preservation of the jury trial.

“The VEC was nothing more than a catchy but misleading name, a local “sleeper cell” which the US Chamber used to manipulate an election while standing in the shadows, free from public disclosure and accountability. This was a US Chamber operation from start to finish.”

The Horsesass Organization weighed in with: "The anti-Senn campaign was only the tip of the iceberg. The US Chamber has secretly dedicated tens of millions of dollars to swaying local races nationwide. The money is strategically spent in normally low-profile, low-cost judicial and attorney general races, upsetting the balance with huge sums of out-of-state, “independent” expenditures."

"The Chamber of Commerce just goes around the country breaking the law," charged Senn. "Basically, because they have been accountable on several cases. There has been a recent opinion from the US Supreme Court about the judicial election they were involved in. But, no they haven't been reined in because they have paid for quite a number anti-health care commercials on the air right now."

In covering the story for the Seattle Times David Postman wrote: "The US Chamber paid for a $1.5 million television-ad campaign against Senn, a Democrat and former state insurance commissioner. The Chamber placed the ads anonymously through a group called the Voters Education Committee, later revealing its involvement only under legal pressure from the state Public Disclosure Commission."

"The money for the campaign came from the US Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform, which focuses on restricting liability lawsuits and is involved in 25 state supreme-court and attorney-general campaigns nationwide," continued the Seattle Times article.

Local Seattle businesses took umbrage at the involvement of the US Chamber of Commerce and fired off a letter to the national office. Steve Leahy, president and CEO of the Great Seattle Chamber of Commerce told members that the letter was written to express "our strong disdain for this type of political activity."

He added that the group wanted to protest both the "likely counterproductive result" of the campaign as well as the "bone-headed practices" of trying to hide the source of the campaign's money. "Washingtonians don't like surprises or what they perceive as outside interference," said the letter which was signed by six business organizations in the state - the statewide Association of Washington Business, and chambers of commerce in Spokane, Kelso-Longview, Bellevue and Tacoma-Pierce County.

"Political campaigning is not impossible to regulate, but let me just say that it might come as a shock to many people that there is no financial disclosure," continued Senn.

"See, you think there is disclosure, but there is a way to sort of legally wash the money through a non profit and that is what the Chamber does. The run the money through a not-for-profit and then the not-for-profit gives it to the Chamber, but we don't know who gave it to the not-for-profit," she explained.

"People are actually shocked and I mean everybody," she exclaimed. "That is just the beginning of what needs to be done," she said about election reform.

Raised in Chicago, Senn graduated from South Shore High School in 1966. She has a bachelors in history (1970) and masters in political science (1976) from the University of Illinois. Her law degree is from Loyola University, also in 1976.

Senn was elected state Washington Insurance Commissioner in 1992, serving from 1993 to 2001. While in office Senn implemented key health insurance reforms, and the nation’s first regulations for environmental cleanup claims. She was a national leader in protecting the victims of domestic violence from insurance discrimination, and was the first US Insurance Commissioner to call for regulatory action on behalf of Holocaust victims denied insurance benefits after World War II.

Prior to serving as Insurance Commissioner, Senn was Legal Counsel to the Washington State Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Telecommunications, the House Energy and Utilities Committees. She was known as an outspoken advocate for consumers, with Ralph Nader once calling her the best insurance commissioner in the country. Her insurance reforms - and their costs to insurers - drew fire from health insurers, however, some of whom stopped writing new individual policies in the state.

Sen. Ted Kennedy authored 300 bills which became law.
Broadway To Vegas spoke with Senn shortly after it was announced that Senator Ted Kennedy had succumbed to brain cancer.

"Probably like a lot of other people who care about health care in this country, I was thinking this morning - I wish he could have lived ten years longer to bring this home. It is really the end of an era and it is really very hard to think of him not being at the table for this health care debate."

"A lot of the health care battles are repeats of what we saw in the 90's," she complained. "It is astonishing the level to which the opponents are willing to stoop during this time. They are desperate. It is just incredible that people believe this kind of stuff. It is just shocking. It is working and so it is terrifying. At town meetings some of things that people are being told and believe - just shocking," she reiterated.

Senn has had numerous contentious issues involving insurance companies.

"A lot of my cases had to do with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I actually don blue boxing gloves to discuss all of my issues with Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the play."

Senn worked for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as a law student and after graduation. She then went to work as a lawyer representing consumers in utility cases, and spent a year as a TV reporter in Anchorage. She was known to always have had an interest in the theater - although writing a legal brief and writing for the stage tend to be polar opposites.

"I actually was a theatrical major for awhile in college, but I gave it up for politics," she confessed. "But there is always an intersect between politics and theater. In that sense it's not a surprising crossover. It's a funny thing, I always tell people who are in law school that after they are done they are going to have to learn again how to write. Law school ruins the ability to write," she declared.

"I will tell you that the very first draft of this play which I read out loud to my husband - we both looked at each other and said - It sounds like a brief," laughed the mother of two.

"I took a play writing class," she divulged. "I thought I should go find out if I know what I'm doing. So, I took a play writing class here in town. It was taught by Elizabeth Heffron who has had two really successful plays at ACT Theatre. She is very talented and she was very encouraging."

As Senn puts it, "a hundred drafts later" the lawyer/playwright had something to stage that would appeal to a wide audience.

"I first work-shopped this play in NYC in 2005. It was performed for an audience of New Yorkers who never knew a thing about my campaign or even about attorney generals. It was directed by Jean Michelle Gregory, Mike Daisey's wife," said Senn of the famed political activist and performer.

Julie Briskman
"The first version of this I performed at the Capitol Arts Center in Seattle." In that effort Senn starred as herself. In this reading the actress Julie Briskman portrays Deborah Senn.

"Julie is one of the great artists of ACT. I am just thrilled that she is playing me. Listen, I discovered in the course of this show how hard it is to stand up and do shows, so I am very happy to have her. She does a much better job of playing me, than I do in playing me," quipped Senn.

"Kurt Beattie will direct. I can't wait to see what Kurt has to say afterwards, because it is such a privilege and honor to have him directing it," Senn said of Beattie who is the Artistic Director of A Contemporary Theatre, which is a professional residency theater company.

Deborah currently runs her private practice, Deborah Senn Law, in Seattle, WA and provides international insurance and legal consulting on insurance regulation for emerging democracies having recently traveled to Vietnam, Serbia, Algeria and Paraguay.

Deborah indicated that she hasn't heard from the US Chamber of Commerce about this play.

"No, I have not been in touch with them. I haven't invited them," was her droll comment.

As to her own political future Senn replied, "I intend to continue to vote in every election. I just think this play is the universal story about how money is ruining politics. I think people should come and see that. I think it's important that people come and see the show, because it not only is about truth but, it is pretty entertaining. It's not a legal brief!"

Until the Last Dog Dies is presented as a staged reading September 11-12 at ACT in Seattle Washington.

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The Forest Glade
This new exhibition explores the recent trend among European designers for unique or limited edition pieces that push the boundaries between art and design.

The exhibition showcases furniture, lighting and ceramics, designed by a new generation of international designers, including Tord Boontje, Maarten Baas, Jurgen Bey and Studio Job, who are all inspired by the spirit of story-telling.

Each tells a tale through their use of decorative devices, historical allusions or choice of materials, sharing common themes such as fantasy

The exhibition is in three sections: The Forest Glade is the first section. Against all the evidence of an industrialized, globalized, high-tech world (or perhaps because of it) some contemporary designers are retreating to the pastoral setting of fairy tales, myths and nature. In so doing they return us to our most primitive state. No doubt their designs are escapist, even naïve, and can be quite deliberately childlike.

Their faux-rustic objects look as though they belong in a forest glade straight from classical mythology or northern European fairy tales, or perhaps even the biblical Garden of Eden.

But these designers are deadly serious about wanting to disengage us from ordinary life and reconnect us to a state of innocence and wonder.

The Enchanted Castle
The Enchanted Castle exaggerates and parodies historical design styles often associated with displays of status.

Many recall designs from the 18th century, a period that was frequently evoked by later writers and illustrators of fairytales. The 18th century was also the age of the rise of the novel, a new way to tell tales.

Early novels, such as Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders (1722), were descriptions of the material world of Georgian life, as were William Hogarth's print series, such as Marriage à la Mode (1745).

In both, style and design were a visual language that indicated social and worldly status. Here we see conventional displays of high status parodied and subverted, through awkward changes of scale or seemingly inappropriate uses of materials.

Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell is concerned with themes of mortality and the afterlife. At the end of the 19th century, the advent of psychoanalysis opened up the sub-conscious and offered new interpretations of dreams and the imagination. With this came a renewed awareness of mortality and a sense of anxiety about the mutability of life, which Freud described as the 'death drive'.

Inspired by this, this section presents works that evoke the universal conflict of life and death, heaven and hell, judgment and salvation. Some of these designers refer to the forms of Baroque art, others conjure up memento mori - reminders of our mortality. Still others create agitated designs that explore our anxious state in troubled times.

Until 18 October 18, 2009 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Wood and bone box, Eastern Greenland, Angmassalik, Inuit people. Ca. 1890. Bequest of Thomas G. Fowler
from the Collection of Thomas G. Fowler is the newest new permanent installation in the de Young Art of the Americas galleries in San Francisco.

The word yua means spirit or soul. Its prominence in the title reflects the widely shared Eskimo/Inuit concept that all living things in the natural world, even inanimate objects possess a spirit or a soul that must be honored.

The inaugural exhibition includes nearly 100 objects from approximately 3rd century B.C. to the contemporary era, representing both the aesthetic and the utilitarian sensibility of Arctic life. Objects include figures, baskets, bowls, tools, pipes, boxes, snuff containers, snow goggles, kayak models, cribbage boards, animal carvings, dolls, and stone sculptures in a variety of materials, such as ivory, whalebone, walrus tusk, sea mammal intestine, wood, fiber, and stone.

Yua, Spirit of the Arctic contains intriguing pieces whose original uses range from ceremonial to recreational. One notable object is a model of a Kashim, or dance house, with eleven dancers and musicians performing to maintain the balance the community against the uncontrollable forces of nature and spirits that govern their survival. Another rare piece is an ornately carved, late 19th-century ivory cribbage board from Nunivak Island, detailing a large number of animals that appear to be eating each other, perhaps a stylized depiction of the life cycle.

This installation also includes a selection of pots gifted from Paul and Barbara Weiss. Over the last ten years, Paul and Barbara Weiss have traveled throughout the Southwestern United States, carefully selecting outstanding examples made by prominent Pueblo potters. The oldest pots come from the venerated pueblos of Acoma, San Ildefonso, and Hopi.

Many scholars believe the ancestors of the indigenous peoples of the North migrated to Alaska over the Bering Land Bridge more than 4,000 years ago and apparently lived in relative isolation until their first encounters with Europeans in the 16th century. In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska and whalers, fur trappers, and missionaries came to the area, bringing Western culture.

These foreign visitors purchased Inuit and Eskimo objects as souvenirs and as a result, the native people began to create varied pieces for trade with the foreigners. During the 19th century, most of the Inuit artwork was made specifically for sale or early tourist trade. Today, the practice of creating art for sale continues.

Yua, Spirit of the Arctic: Eskimo and Inuit Art from the Collection of Thomas G. Fowler is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in close consultation with Chuna McIntyre, a Yup’ik artist and performer born in Alaska, and Roslyn Tunis, a noted authority and independent curator. The presenting curator is Kathleen Berrin, FAMSF curator-in-charge of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.


The much hyped Spanish-American lyrics in three songs sung in the current revival of West Wide Story apparently failed to pass the Spanish exam.

Producers of the Tony Award-nominated revival of West Side Story announced on August 25 that as of August 20 the lyric changes have - for the most part - reverted back to the original English only Stephen Sondheim lyrics.

In a statement Arthur Laurents, who penned West Side Story's book and directed this production establishes that he pays attention to the pulse of his audience. "From the outset, the Spanish in West Side Story was an experiment. It's been an ongoing process of finding what worked and what didn't, and it still continues."

The revival of West Side Story, which officially opened at Broadway's Palace Theatre on March 19, had introduced "the unprecedented element of selectively weaving Spanish throughout both the book and songs," according to previous press releases.

"A Boy Like That is now predominately sung in English to the original lyrics and selected dialogue and lyrics in I Feel Pretty have reverted to English," according to the press announcement, although Maria - played by Josefina Scaglione - still delivers some of the song in Spanish

The Spanish sung by the Sharks in the Tonight remains by-lingual.

The Broadway cast album of this revival which included the weaving of Spanish now becomes even more of a collectors' item. See Broadway To Vegas column of April 12, 2009 and See Broadway To Vegas column of June 7, 2009


EMMETT, DOWN IN MY HEART by Clare Coss, starring Kathleen Chalfant and Danny Glover. Directed by Jim Lawson. Clare Coss's profoundly moving play is vital for our time. The interwoven stories of Emmett Till, his mother Mrs. Till-Mobley, and white school teacher Roanne Taylor create a rich, dramatic work that touches the heart and provokes thought and action. A local gospel choir introduces the evening. $100 VIP tickets to benefit the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center, includes Garden Reception with cast. Saturday, September 5, Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY.

FRANK WILDHORN & FRIENDS starring stars Linda Eder, Lea Salonga, Rob Evan, and Douglas Sills with musical director Koen Schoots and director Jeff Calhoun.

This is a benefit for the Nevada Conservatory Theatre which is the professional theater training program of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

September 4-6 at the Judy Bailey Theatre in Las Vegas.

LEAP YEAR a play by William Coe Bigelow, featuring Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis in a one night only performance starring Olympic Dukakis in a staged reading as a benefit for the not-for-profit Lenox, MA based Shakespeare & Co, billed as an early kick-off to the 15th Annual Studio Festival of Plays. Proceeds will support the Kresge Challenge.

Tony Simotes will direct the cast which includes Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Corinna May, David Adkins and Josh Aaron McCabe, among others.

Leap Year is described as; Notions of parenting, personal responsibility, the sense one has of God, and the redemptive quality of love and personal forgiveness, are all at the center of Leap Year. This heartfelt drama tells the story of a thirty-something couple, Rob and Lisa Montgomery, whose second child is born with Down's Syndrome. The First Act takes place in a duplex apartment in Los Angeles, starting the day their son is born, on Feb. 29, 1988, as the couple, their friends, and family struggle to come to terms with the painful event and the difficult choices they suddenly face. The Second Act transpires five leap years later, on Feb. 29, 2008, in the same duplex apartment, when the decisions the Montgomerys have made play out in stark terms.

There will also be a post-show reception. Monday, August 31 at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.

ANA LAGUNA AND MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV in Three Solos and a Duet at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA on September 4 and 5.

This breathtaking 4-piece program marks the American premiere of dances by acclaimed choreographers Mats Ek, Benjamin Millepied and Alexei Ratmansky.

The Friday evening program is the launch of their limited United States tour. This gala evening features cocktails and sunset supper on the plaza before the performance, and the celebration continues afterward with an exclusive party under the stars. Proceeds from the evening benefit outreach and arts education programming at The Broad Stage.

CAST MEMBERS FROM THE TOURING CAST OF WICKED last Friday followed the yellow brick road to the Ronald McDonald House at Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego to meet with families there. They helped the children make magic wands and theater masks, and perform a concert of family-friendly songs, including a couple from the show.

Elphaba standby Merideth Kaye Clark explained: “We live our lives on the road and sometimes it doesn’t feel like we have a community because we travel from city to city. We did something similar with Ronald McDonald House families in Salt Lake City, Utah and it was a great experience to meet parents, siblings and some of the sick children. Here in San Diego, we hope that we can make someone’s day a little brighter.”

Since opening its doors in 1980, San Diego’s RMH has provided more than 140,000 nights of lodging for more than 14,000 families whose children face life-threatening illnesses and are receiving treatment at area hospitals. Additionally, they now serve nearly 1,500 day visitors through their Family Care Center.

Wicked, the smash-hit musical, plays at the Civic Theatre in San Diego through today, Sunday, August 30.


Candice Bergen
in a Special Guest Appearance to introduce the screening of Louis Malles' au revoir les enfants. part of the (Re)Discovering world Cenema Gems from the Janus Collection.

In Malle's 1987 French film, Au revoir les enfants, the director was able to find catharsis for an experience that had haunted him since the German occupation of France in World War II.

At age 12, he was sent to a Catholic boarding school near Paris that was a refuge for several Jewish students, one of them was Malle's rival for academic honors and his friend. A kitchen worker at the school with a grudge became an informant. The priest who was the principal was arrested and the Jewish students were sent off to concentration camps.

In 1981, Bergen and Malle married. Their union produced one child, a daughter named Chloe Malle, in 1985. The couple were married until Malle's death from cancer in 1995.

This event programmed by Gavin Wiesen, has a pre-show wine reception. Tuesday, September 1 at Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY.

MEET-THE-PLAYWRIGHT of Eclipsed - a world premiere which exposes how much an individual may sacrifice in order to survive wartime atrocities. The ways these characters respond to trauma and empower themselves can be seen in conflict zones around the world. In conjunction with the World Premiere of Dania Gurira’s Eclipsed and the UN’s International Day of Peace, Woolly Mammoth in Washington, DC has partnered with several DC-based organizations working to expose harsh truths and empower women to promote global human rights.

On Friday, September 4, following the evening performance there will be a discussion with Danai Gurira, moderated by Miriam Weisfeld, Director of New Play Development.

which was a filmed two-night, star-studded event presented at London's Royal Albert Hall May 12-13, 2008, will be screened on 27 cinemas in the United Kingdom and Ireland September 5-10. More2Screen and Warner Music International teamed for this presentation. Several of the concert cast members will attend a Sept. 7 screening at the Odeon in London's Covent Garden.

In a statement Christine Costello, managing director of More2Screen, said, "The music and story of Chess has a place in many people's hearts and memories, and we're delighted to be working with Warner Music International to be reviving it in its 25th anniversary year. The phenomenal success of 'Mamma Mia!' shows the potential for musicals in cinema, and we hope Chess in Concert will delight its many existing fans, as well as finding some new ones, when it plays on the big screen this summer."

Chess in Concert was directed for film by David Horn and produced by Austin Shaw. The cast features Tony Award winner Idina Menzel as Florence, Tony nominee Adam Pascal as Frederick Trumper with internationally acclaimed vocalist Josh Groban as Anatoly Sergievsky, Kerry Ellis as Svetlana, David Bedella as Molokov, Clarke Peters as Walter and Marti Pellow as The Arbiter. The ensemble includes Grant Anthony, Christopher Colley, Tiffany Graves, Leila Benn Harris, David Michael Johnson, Debbie Kurup, Aoife Mulholland and Tabitha Webb.

The concert also boasted the 50-piece City of London Philharmonic, led by David Firman, and the 100-voice West End Chorus. Hugh Wooldridge, who adapted the musical for the concert, directed.

Chess involves a romantic triangle between two players in a World Chess Championship, and the woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any specific individuals, the characters' personalities are loosely based on those of Victor Korchnoi and Bobby Fischer.

The Benny Anderson-Tim Rice-Björn Ulvaeus musical Chess debuted on the London stage with a cast led by Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg and Murray Head, while the short-lived Broadway company featured Judy Kuhn, Philip Casnoff and the late David Carroll.

BRITNEY SPEARS took her sons Sean Preston and Jayden to see Shrek The Musical, at the Broadway Theatre in NYC.


according to the New Zealand Herald quoting Living TV are several names familiar to the Las Vegas Strip.

Topping the list - The Rolling Stones who charge $8 million to perform at weddings. Sir Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarist Ronnie Wood received that amount in 2002 for performing a 90-minute set at a lavish wedding party in the United States. Coming in second was Kylie Minogue who demands $3.2 million to play at nuptials.

Sir Elton John Elton ranked third place. He took away $2.4 million in 2001 after singing along to his piano for a private bash following the vow taking. However, the pop icon donates all earnings from private concerts to his charity, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, rather than pocket the huge sums.

US songstress Christina Aguilera was named the fourth priciest performer asking up to $2.4 million a show while British pop star George Michael bags $2.1 million for a private concert. Troubled Rehab starlet Amy Winehouse, Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney, X Factor winner Leona Lewis and US star Jennifer Lopez can each demand $1.6 million for a post-nuptials performance. Barry Manilow wants $1.2 million to serenade the bride and groom. Rod Stewart will perform for $972,000 and rounding out the list was Duran Duran at a cool $810,000.

JEREMY PIVEN was cleared of all charges stemming from his claim that he contracted mercury poisoning from eating too such sushi, thus forcing him to quit the Broadway production Speed The Plow in December, two months early.

Last Thursday Actors' Equity announced an arbitrator has cleared actor Jeremy Piven of wrongdoing in a dispute with producers of the play who were upset when Piven walked out.

A representative for Piven said the arbitrator's decision was based on medical testimony from doctors, and that the actor spent three days in a hospital as a result of his condition.

The producers filed a grievance with Actors' Equity, but when Piven did not receive union penalties from that proceeding, the producers took the case to arbitration. "I'm pleased with the outcome of the arbitration and to be completely vindicated in this matter based on the facts and the medical evidence," Piven said in a statement.


PARKER POSEY who is suffering from Lyme Disease. Because of the recently diagnosed infectious, tick-borne disease Posey was forced to withdrawn from the cast of This, a new play by Melissa James Gibson, scheduled to begin previews on November 6 at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons.

Early symptoms of Lyme Disease may include fever, headache, fatigue, depression, and a characteristic circular skin rash called erythema migrans. Left untreated, later symptoms may involve the joints, heart, and central nervous system. In most cases, the infection and its symptoms are eliminated by antibiotics, especially if the illness is treated early.

Rachel York. Photo by Laura Deni
based on the original 1956 novel by Dodie Smith - not on the popular Disney animated film - with book and lyrics by B.T. McNicholl and music and lyrics by Dennis DeYoung, a founding member of the band Styx. Directed by four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks.

Broadway actress Rachel York will play the villainess Cruella de Vil, notorious for kidnapping Dalmatian puppies for their distinctive spots, in a one-of-a-kind musical adventure for the entire family about what it means to be a family, canine and courageous. The part will require York to sing and dance in heavy fur coats all created by costume designer Robert Morgan.

York will be co-starring with fifteen real Dalmatians, many of which were rescued from animal shelters across the country. The dogs are featured in Act One as well as in a grand finale that promises to leave audiences cheering.

The four legged stars are under the direction of famed dog trainer Joel Slaven, owner of Joel Slaven’s Professional Animals, Inc. The guy has over thirty years experience working with exotic animals. He began his career in Columbus, Ohio – raising and training exotic animals at the Columbus Zoo for Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus and Host of Jack Hanna Animal Adventures. Today JSPA, Inc. is the largest producer of domestic animals shows in the world, employing 34 trainers and having rescued over 200 cats, 100 dogs, 15 pot-bellied pigs, and numerous ducks, pigeons, rats, skunks, and exotic birds from shelters across the country. With an excellent reputation for quality shows and professional staff, JSPA, Inc. prides itself in providing exceptional care for their animals from adoption through retirement.

Saying the dogs are the stars of the show is an understatement - the entire production is from a dog's point of view - literally.

Since the four-footed, furry cast members can't sing on key nor deliver lines, humans will play the principle characters, including the canine couple Pongo and Missus and their puppies, who are dog-napped.

Choreographer Warren Carlyle and dance arranger Mark Hummel have staged the humans playing canines to be about a foot off the ground, so that they are seen through the eyes of a pup.

Costumes are also crucial in the transformation to a canine perspective.

“Thus, we present the humans in a heightened form of dress and scale so as to appear larger than life – as they would seem from a dog’s point of view,” says Director Jerry Zaks. As for the lovable Dalmatians, they will have “No ears, no paws – but, rather, a clever use of costumes in the black-and-white palette that will immediately set them apart from the human characters."

The production follows Dalmatians spouses Pongo and Missis Pongo who are living the good life in London with their "pets" Charles and Catherine Dearly. When their 10 puppies are suddenly "dognapped" by the villainous Cruella de Vil, they summon the help of a vast network of dogs and set off to rescue their pups. There's a happy ending for all with laughter, mayhem and music

Paul Gallo is the Lighting Designer; Heidi Ettinger heads up Scenic Designer and Danny Troob is the Orchestrator.

While humans in a touring company are responsible to be at the required location on time, the diva Dalmatians will be transported in special climate controlled vehicles with one handler for every four dogs. They also have a great retirement clause in their contracts. When the run of the show is over, if they haven't been adopted out to a good home, the Dalmatians will enjoy their retirement on Joel's farm.

The musical will premiere That mounting will be followed by a North American tour that will kick off at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis on October 13, 2009.

The production then travels to major markets and venues across the country including a three-week engagement at Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theater in New York City on April 6-25, 2010. The show will play the San Diego Civic Theatre from June 1 - 6, 2010 and then close out the tour in Los Angeles with shows June 8-20 at the Pantages Theatre.

Music and Lyrics by Hope Juber and Laurence Juber. Book by Hope Juber and Ellen Guylas. Directed by Hope Juber. Musical Director Laurence Juber. Choreography by Kay Cole.

Starring Corinne Decker, Jamey Hood and Jayme Lake with Tony Cicchetti, Lisa Cicchetti, Daniel Gordon, O.P. Hadlock and Andy Lurie.

Set Design is by Davis Campbell; Sound Design is by Joseph "Sloe" Slawinski; Visual Projections are by Gabrieal Griego.

The Housewives, three young homemakers who form a band for their PTA talent show - then go on to become bigger than Brillo with their hilarious brand of "domestic" rock 'n roll.

The 19 uproarious songs at the heart of the show - with titles like In Sink And At Your Disposal; Ironing Bored; I've Been Defrosting All Day and the Reynolds Rap - are the brainchild of two-time Grammy award-winning guitarist Laurence Juber - former lead guitarist for Paul McCartney's Wings - and his Emmy-nominated wife, television writer Hope Juber, who is the daughter of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island creator Sherwood Schwartz.

Limited 4-week engagement September 4-27. at The Tenth Avenue Theatre in San Diego.

AMERICAN IDIOT a world premiere. Music by Grammy Award winning Green Day. Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong. Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Tony award winner Michael Mayer. Choreographed by Steven Hoggett. Directed by Michael Mayer.

American Idiot, follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East, as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration.

This high-octane show features every track from the album, plus several new tunes from Green Day’s newest release, 21st Century Breakdown. With an on-stage band and a cast of 19, American Idiot promises that audiences will be taken "on an exhilarating journey borne along by Green Day’s electrifying songs."

This is not a Green Day concert - this is the stage version of American Idiot developed by Green Day and Michael Mayer. Although the band will not appear on stage, the show's press promises that the show "will definitely rock."

Green Day - vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool - were loud, snotty, scrappy kids from working-class backgrounds who came of age in the underground punk scene in Berkeley. American Idiot, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and raised the bar for modern rock ‘n’ roll.

The world premiere of the stage version of American Idiot is September 4–October 11, 2009 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, CA.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY MUSICAL has announced the complete creative team for the eagerly anticipated new musical.

Based on the bizarre and beloved family of characters created by legendary cartoonist Charles Addams, the musical will feature lighting design by two-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, sound design by Acme Sound Partners and puppetry by acclaimed Obie Award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist.

The production will also feature music direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, orchestrations by Larry Hochman See Broadway To Vegas column of May 24, 2009 , dance arrangements by August Eriksmoen, hair design by Tom Watson, make-up design by Angelina Avallone, special effects design by Greg Meeh and fight direction by Rick Sordelet. Heidi Miami Marshall will serve as associate director.

The Addams Family has a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music and lyrics by Drama Desk Award winner Andrew Lippa, direction and design by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

Starring two-time Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia, The Addams Family features two-time Tony Award nominee Terrence Mann as Mal Beineke, two-time Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello as Alice Beineke, two-time Tony Award nominee Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, Jackie Hoffman as Grandmama, Zachary James as Lurch, Adam Riegler as Pugsley, Wesley Taylor as Lucas Beineke and Krysta Rodriguez as Wednesday.

In this original story, the famously macabre Addams Family is put to the test when outsiders come to dinner, hurling Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Fester, Grandmama and Lurch headlong into a night that will change the family forever.

The musical will open Thursday, April 8, 2010 at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Previews begin Thursday, March 4, 2010 following a pre-Broadway engagement at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre in Chicago that begins Friday, November 13, 2009.


OASIS seemingly always in the center of some family feud, was forced to cancel their appearance at Virgin Media's V Festival last Tuesday after lead singer Liam Gallagher said he had viral laryngitis. The group was set to resume their tour last Friday and close it out today, Sunday, August 30 by appearing at the I-Day Milano Urban Festival in Milan, Italy. That went by the wayside when Gallagher announced at the last second that he was quitting the group - stating he "simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer." The band was set to play the Rock en Seine festival in Paris on Friday. Instead Screens at either side of the stage showed the message: "As a result of an altercation within the band, the Oasis gig has been cancelled."

MIKE ALBERT AND ELVIS' IMPERIALS Join the legendary Mike Albert as he reveals “the Gospel Side of Elvis,” with a night of songs, stories and memories of the King. Mike’s uncanny renditions of Elvis’s work will be made even more real, as he is joined onstage by The Imperials - the gospel group who backed up Elvis in Las Vegas. The group features lead singer Terry Blackwood and bass singer Joe Moscheo, founding members of the Imperials, who recorded such hits as Suspicious Minds and In the Ghetto with the king of rock and roll. Friday, September 4 at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, PA.

CLEO LAINE AND JOHN DANKWORTH the acclaimed British singer and saxophonist/arranger who have been married for 50 years, bring their talents to Seattle for a rare appearance at Jazz Alley for four nights, beginning September 3. Her longtime West Coast band features pianist Larry Dunlap, bassist Seward McCain, drummer Jim Zimmerman and trombonist Ed Neumeister.

ROBERT KLEIN brings his clever insight to the Comedy Club at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY on August 31, 2009.

GARY SINISE and the Lt. Dan Band perform September 6 at the Cannery in Las Vegas.

AIR SUPPLY opens a four night stand at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas on Thursday, September 3.

CHRIS ISAAK performs Tuesday, September 1 at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville, OR. On Wednesday the show is at the Edgefield Winery in Troufale, OR and on Friday the tour stops at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, WA.

ELVIS COSTELLO on stage Tuesday, September 1 at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, TX. On Wednesday he's in the spotlight at the Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie, TX and on Thursday the show is at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, OK.

LOU CHRISTIE knocking out those feeling good sounds Saturday, September 5 at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

CHRIS BOTTI in a one night stand Saturday, September 5 at the Aliante Casino in Las Vegas.

JOAN RIVERS giving her funny take on things at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas September 3-5.

JAY LENO brings his funny patter to the Mirage in Las Vegas with shows September 4-5.

DEF LEPPARD, POISON AND CHEAP TRICK take over the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on September 5.

BILL COSBY brings his funny take on life to Treasure Island in Las Vegas on September 5.

Next Column: September 6, 2009
Copyright: August 30, 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