Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: February 25, 2007
By: Laura Deni


Most people never study physics, chemistry or calculus and tend to look askance at those who do. Why then, are these subjects suddenly stealing the spotlight in theatrical productions?

"So often the world of science and technology are depicted in the media negatively," Mark Routhier, the Sloan Initiative Program Director for San Francisco based The Magic Theatre told Broadway To Vegas. "You have the absent-minded professor, the mad genius who will use his knowledge for evil, etc. It’s a wonderful way to break those negative stereotypes. Scientists and artists aren’t so far apart. The process is similar, the creativity, the thinking outside the box, the repetition with variables, the discipline. Both are trying to discover the truth, and science often gets a bad rap."

"Fostering discussion about important issues as well as clearing up misunderstandings is important," he stressed.

"Stories about scientists and their discoveries engage us with some of the most fundamental philosophical and ethical issues that have shaped who we are and how we live viewed through the lens of extraordinary circumstances.
And that is what makes great drama," added Los Angeles Theatre Works (LATW) Producing Director Susan Loewenberg in speaking with Broadway To Vegas.

The Magic is in the third year of a $400,000 three year grant from the Sloan Foundation to commission, develop, and produce plays exploring the worlds of science and technology. L.A. Theatre Works has recently been awarded $253,000 to support the recording of four new plays and for the production of a new monthly radio series entitled Relativity that focuses on science-themed works, with LATW joining such theaters as the Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Playwrights Horizons that receive Sloan's support to produce plays about science and technology

"We have three styles of commissions which include commissions awarded from one page proposals to write new plays, rewrite commissions awarded to write new drafts of an already existing play, and a Collaboration Commission, in which we commission several writers to immerse themselves in a particular science and then write a short play exploring the world of that particular science or technology," explained Routhier.

"Examples of this last have included a commission in which eight UCSB playwriting students studied Stem Cell Research in whatever ways they felt appropriate, including sitting in on classes, interviewing professors, studying on the internet," he continued.

BOT by C. Michèle Kaplan. Directed by Artistic Director Chris Smith, a presentation of The Magic Theatre / Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project. A teenager's vision will change our world forever. And his parents are too consumed by their own high-powered urban lives to recognize the meaning of their son's success. Opens Friday, March 3
"They then wrote short plays that were directed by visiting directors to the UCSB Summer Play Lab, and presented as a part of that lab/festival. We invited several researchers in the field to come and see the plays and discuss Stem Cell Research with the playwrights and the audience afterwards. We then chose four to be presented in our Science on Stage reading series that we do with the Exploratorium in their theatre," elaborated Routhier.

"Our Collaboration Commission with UCSB on Stem Cell Research was fascinating on a bunch of different levels," he emphasized. "The students did some very creative work in terms of dramatizing what Stem Cell Research actually does, as well as dramatizing the ethical issues. When we opened the floor to the audience with our experts in the field, it became clear that there had been a lot of misunderstanding or lack of understanding for exactly what Stem Cell Research is."

"And it was a wide range - from believing that Stem Cell Research leads to cloning - which is like thinking that pot smoking leads to heroin addiction - to believing that the research could only be accomplished by getting viable stem cells from aborted fetuses. The list goes on," he lamented.

"So bringing the topic to the fore, the public has an opportunity to be educated at a root level which may lead to better discussions toward greater understanding, as well as piquing their curiosity toward doing their own research on the topic. It’s an invaluable way to make the worlds of science and technology less cryptic and more accessible."

"I think one of my great regrets in life is that I didn't have enough of a science education," confessed Loewenberg, founder of LA Theatre Works. "I loved science in High School," related Loewenbrg who was an excellent student. "I took math, calculus, physics, chemistry and biology, of course. Women at that point women tended to go into humanities. My science education stopped.
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Because of the incredible advances in technology and new media - in addition to critical issues such as global warming - I think the general public is becoming more and more involved with science and wanting desperately to learn," added the director who divulged that "when the New York Times arrives, the Science Section is the first section that I read."

"The wonderful thing about theater is that theater engages you both emotionally and intellectually," she stressed. "If the play is really well written and about something - as in the plays of Arthur Miller - you can really teach people. Engage them in the issues."

"Most scientists are incredibly smart people, but they are also very ordinary. They have the same emotional issues that all of us have," she reasoned.

"Some people are good at relationships - like Robert Oppenheimer," she said of the American theoretical physicist who came to be known as "the father of the atomic bomb."

"He was a charming man, who was able to able to exert a lot of leadership just through his skills with dealing with people.
Simon Templeman as Edward Teller
The opposite end of the spectrum was Edward Teller, who was not very skilled with people," she related about the Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb."

He made a set of disastrous decisions based on that failing," she continued about human dynamics, which makes for good reading and watching.

"I think one of wonderful things about Proof - such a brilliant piece - was the way the psychological and the rational were inter woven. Her touching and desperate fear that she was going to turn into her father," Loewenberg continued about the character Catherine, the daughter of a math genius whose once-sharp mind deteriorates. "Her terrible fear that she was going to become him, which was holding her back from exerting the influence that she had the potential to have in the community. The working out of those issues as she is working out the mathematical issues. It's a wonderful piece which teaches you a lot about math and an enormous amount about psychology."

"Look at Breaking the Code about Alan Turing," she suggested. "He is the person who set the stage for computer science. But he was a private homosexual and then became the victim in this kind of paranoia about the homosexual community. He was really hounded for years by the British secret service for his homosexuality and their fear that he could be blackmailed, or that he was in some was untrustworthy."

Alan Turning
"Eventually, he killed himself. And, he was a brilliant guy. He was a hero. He unraveled The Enigma Code," she remarked of Turing's Second World War work at Bletchley Park which helped save Britain from Nazi domination by breaking the German Enigma Code.

"Once he became exposed as a homosexual he became a non-person," she said of his country turning its back on him.

In 1952, Turing was convicted of "acts of gross indecency" after admitting to a sexual relationship with a man in Manchester. He was placed on probation and required to undergo hormone therapy. Turing died after eating an apple laced with cyanide in 1954. His death was ruled as suicide.

The catalyst for science on stage is the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit institution, was established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr., then President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation.

The Foundation makes grants in science, technology and the quality of American life. Sloan's program in public understanding of science and technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports the use of books, radio, television, theater, film and the internet to reach a wide nonspecialist audience and to bridge the gap between the "two cultures." Sloan commissions dozens of new plays each year and has been involved with such acclaimed works as Copenhagen, Proof and QED.

"Doron Weber is a great guy. What I love about them is they are so non-bureaucratic," related Loewenberg. "They know a good idea when they see one, and they just go for it. It is a great grant," she acknowledged about the quarter-million plus check. "I've gone through 20 times the hoops to get some inconsequential grant which won't buy coffee - and then there is a really well run foundation like Sloan that knows what they are doing."

While most grants involve hair pulling, specialized writing Loewenberg divulged that their grant proposal virtually wrote itself. "It was very easy to write because it was an idea that was clearly within their mission. Those are the best kind of grants to write because you know you've got a good idea."

The grant enables LATW to begin The Relatively Series, which Loewenberg calls "really special."

"This is going to focus on 12 plays about science. We are going to Pod cast them. You are going to be able to go to the NPR website and get a free download of each of these 12 plays. A new play will be featured every month and each play will stay up for three months."

Featured plays will explore the full gamut of science - biology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and medicine - through the "relative" lens of theater.

Edward Asner as Williams Jennings Bryan and John de Lancie as Clarence Darrow. Photo by Annie Appel
The Relativity Series kicks off on April 7 with the broadcast of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning play, Proof by David Auburn, one of the first plays supported by Sloan through its partnership with Manhattan Theatre Club; the LATW recording stars Anne Heche, Robert Foxworth, Shirley Knight and Jeremy Sisto.

Other plays in The Relativity Series include An Immaculate Misconception by Father of the Pill Dr. Carl Djerassi, starring JoBeth Williams and Kevin Kilner; The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial with Edward Asner, Sharon Gless and Mike Farrell and The Real Dr. Strangelove with Simon Templeman, Joe Spano and John de Lancie, both by Peter Goodchild; and Breaking the Code by Emmy Award-winning writer High Whitemore.

Whenever possible, plays in The Relativity Series will be scheduled to coincide with anniversaries of scientific discovery and scientists' lives, and programming will also be thematically coordinated with other existing public radio programming such as Ira Flatow's NPR program Science Friday and Sandra Tsing Loh's The Loh-Down on Science.

Anne Hecht records Proof before a live audience of LA Theatre Works. The recording will kick off The Relativity Series beginning April 7. Photo by Manuello Paganelli
This spring and fall, L.A. Theatre Works will record four Sloan-commissioned plays, including Moving Bodies by Arthur Giron and Secret Order by Bob Clyman, both of which originated as part of the Ensemble Studio Theatre-Sloan Project's First Light Festival. One of the new Sloan recordings will be chosen to represent L.A. Theatre Works in the Worldplay International Festival which will broadcast the play worldwide in March 2008.

"We tour our radio show around the country," Loewenberg said referring to one of the most incredible and important theatrical posterity projects done in this country.

"It's been great. Now with Pod casting and streaming- anybody anywhere - even if they are not in a place where their radio carries out show - can go on line to any of our major broadcasters and hear the play for a week. I'm thrilled about it. Also, because we're digitized so many of our plays - libraries now have them. People can check them out. We have a new project in the works called The Plays The Thing for High Education, where we will be selling our digitized library to universities and college. Professors can assign plays - whether it's physics, chemistry or Chicano history and say download this play from our closed circuit system and we'll discuss it next week."

Susan Loewenberg
The intelligent and exuberant Loewenberg obvious loves her work, which evolved from a lifestyle of activism and giving back.

"I started the company with a group of six other young people who had been recent transplants from New York," she recalled. "We were all young artists. We started it in 1974. It was called Artists In Prison. We were coming out of the social action of the 60s. We wanted to give back. We were here in LA where there wasn't much of a theater scene. We got the notion to go into prisons and jails and give theater games and acting workshops. We began creating plays with inmates and quickly realized that what we were seeing in prison was more interesting than the fourth-rate touring companies that were coming to LA at that time."

"So we started this incredible project. We started to get funding from the NEA and all kind of places. We actually began creating plays inside the prison walls - at state and federal prisons. Ultimately, we would get inmates furloughed for a week to perform at places like the Mark Taper Forum and the UCLA Lab."

"The organization kind of transformed into more of a straight theater producing organization, first doing productions with people in the community and then doing professional productions. Then in 1985 we started recording plays and stopped doing live productions in the conventional sense. For the past 22 years we have recorded 400 plays. We have been able to do this with all of the famous actors.
I've also just gotten the rights to David Hare's new translation of Galileo, which is going to be very interesting."

Getting permission to record plays is her biggest headache.

"Neil Simon will let me have anything he's got. Wendy Wasserstein - I could have anything Wendy had. David Mamet is incredible. Arthur Miller - God bless him - gave us all of his work to digitalize. The Crucible -- all teachers use it. Everybody uses it. So, I feel great about that."

"I never could get an Edward Albee play."

"A lot of times agents will say no, no, no. We have a film deal brewing. Well, this is public radio and it's not competitive," she argued - admittedly many times to deaf ears. "People have a crazy notion that our recording it will hurt the play. A friend of mine, who is a top entertainment lawyer, said - if Sony pictures or Universal wants to make the film, they could care less that you have a radio version."

"Those are the negative things that you run into," she said and then countered - "When audio books are made of books - if the publisher had sold 100,000 copies they can pretty much know that they are going to sell about 10,000 audio books, and it's all to the good. It's something particular to plays and I've never quite figured it out. On the other hand there are people who are terrific about it. "

"So, its frustrating to me. But, people are sometimes irrational. They don't think these things through. An agent is waiting to see if the Mark Taper or the Geffen will pick up the production here in LA. They are afraid for me to record it first. It has happened a few times and it has made absolutely no difference. We don't get reviews for what we do. So, the five times that we record before an audience of 300 people is immaterial. It's not reviewed. It actually spreads the buzz."

"That's the only part of my job that is difficult. Curetting plays is the best job in the world. It's the frustration of not being able to get one that makes the job hard," she reiterated.

The Magic is also internet savvy.

"We’ve commissioned six local Bay Area playwrights to immerse themselves in the understanding and research of nanotechnology, predominantly through a guest artist program with the Exploratorium here in San Francisco," said Routhier. "Each playwright will write a 7-minute nanoplay exploring the world of nanotechnology which will be vetted by several scientists who study in the field," he explained.

"So far, we have heard the first drafts, given extensive notes both from the scientists and our Artistic Director Chris Smith and I. Second drafts are expected mid-March. And the aim is finally choose two, and produce them in a space in which the Exploratorium’s streaming video team will do a multi-camera shoot and stream them live on the net. In the best of all possible worlds, there will be people interviewing scientists and audience members for content reaction, also to be streamed live on the net."

The Ice Breaker by David Rambo
To date The Magic has produced one main stage play, The Ice Breaker by David Rambo, about a climate scientist’s relationship with a graduate student, which was originally commissioned by the ASK Theater at the Geffen Playhouse and developed by the Denver Theater Company; and BOT by C. Michele Kaplan, which will debut this coming week. The Ice Breaker is also part of the National New Play Network’s Continued Life Project and will be performed as a "rolling world premiere" at New Repertory Theatre, Watertown, MA and Phoenix Theatre, Indianapolis, IN.

In 2006, The Magic held a Sloan Slam featuring five new science plays read by 29 actors over four days including Dandelion by Mia Chung, Celestial Bodies by Pam Winfrey, Yellowcake by Ann Cummins, The Los Alamos Project by Z Space Collective and Dragon Tiger, Phoenix by Cherylene Lee.

The Magic also produced staged readings of science plays at the Exploratorium including Walk Into the Sea by Elaine Romero, Baby M by Lauren Gunderson, The Stem Cell Research Plays by Jessica Fleitman, Clayton Hoff, Kristina Hontalas & Stacy Johnstone and The Ruby Vector by Karla Jennings.

The Magic has commissioned five new plays including Dark Matters by Oliver Mayer and K, or The Future’s So Green by Ken Watt. It has entered into collaborations with four West Coast theaters for commissioning new science plays including The Denver Center Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, San Diego Repertory Theater and The Empty Space. And at the 2006 BioAgenda Summit, The Magic performed excerpts from four science-themed plays: Henrik Ibsen’s Enemy of the People, Jerome Roberts and Robert E. Lee’s Inherit the Wind, Michael Hollinger’s Tooth And Claw and David Rambo’s The Ice Breaker.


The Shadow of Slave Trading on Contemporary Art and Design features eleven leading and emerging international artists, this contemporary exhibition seeks to raise questions about the haunting and ambiguous legacies of slavery.

This exhibition raises many questions, to which there may be no definitive answers: why is slavery so often discussed as something disconnected from the present? Why is transatlantic slavery seen as a black issue rather than a human one, by blacks as well as whites? Why does it take arbitrary anniversaries to bring these issues to the fore? How do we understand the roles of the perpetrators and the victims from our standpoint in the present? What can we learn from the history of resistance to slavery? How has slavery contributed to the benefit - and detriment - of the world we live in now? And, how has this institution, like many others, profited from the wealth generated through slave trading?

These questions all address Uncomfortable Truths, which are explored in this exhibition via the works of eleven international artists.

The artists include; El Anatsui (b. 1944, Ghana) is one of Africa's most established and celebrated contemporary artists. Embracing a diverse vocabulary of media, he has worked with materials ranging from tropical hardwoods to cassava graters and liquor bottle tops. Akua's Surviving Children, on display in this exhibition, was originally created in 1996 for the Danish Slavery Project.

Anissa-Jane (b. 1980, UK)
Anissa-Jane, Lucy from the larger work The Spirit of Lucy Negro, 2004. © Anissa-Jane
seeks to explore the intricacies of identity, ancestry and cultural adaptation in her work. Her own experiences as an African British West Indian woman are integral to her creative expression. Her signature medium is to manipulate brown paper - a representation of her own skin - into sculptural forms.

Michael Paul Britto (b. 1968, USA) is a video artist living and working in New York. This exhibition is the first opportunity to view his work in the UK.

Tapfuma Gutsa (b. 1956, Zimbabwe) sculpts using dynamic combinations of organic materials - from the more traditional media of carved stone and wood to the unconventional shaping of paper, string, drawing pins and gourds. His methods have revolutionized Zimbabwean art practice. He lives and works in Vienna, Austria. Two of his works, Ancient Voyages and Tribute to Sango are on display as part of Uncomfortable Truths.

Romuald Hazoumé (b. 1962, Benin) transforms salvaged materials into objects of spiritual power. The artwork DAN-AYIDO-HOUEDO (Arc-en-ciel) symbole de perpétuité, in this exhibition, was commissioned by the V&A.

Professor of Contemporary Art at University of Central Lancashire and painter Lubaina Himid (b. 1954, Zanzibar, Tanzania) focuses on issues of history and identity, in particular the creative strategy needed to achieve a sense of belonging. Her work, based on exchanges of ideas and memories, is in the permanent collections of Tate and the V&A.

Christine Meisner (b. 1970, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. The thrust of her artistic output, whether in film, drawing or text, is the experience of the African Diaspora and its representation in contemporary Europe. Uncomfortable Truths features Meisner's video tale 'Recovery of an Image' and two series of delicate and powerful pencil drawings, excavating the experiences of Afro-Brazilian communities descended from slaves.

Keith Piper (b. 1960, Malta) is an influential multimedia artist at the vanguard of black arts movement in Britain.

Yinka Shonibare MBE (b. 1962, UK) has developed an international standing for his elaborate installations of period figures in African wax print textiles. Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004, the artist consistently merges themes of aesthetics, history and belonging. Sir Foster Cunliffe Playing, featured in this exhibition, was commissioned by the V&A.

Julien Sinzogan (b. 1957, Benin) lives and works in Paris, France. After studying architecture in Tashkent and then in Paris, he began exploring the media of drawing and painting. The painting Gates of Return featured in this exhibition was commissioned by the V&A.

Fred Wilson (b. 1954, USA) is an American artist of Caribbean descent, internationally acclaimed for his incisive and thought-provoking interpretations of the language of museum display. Wilson represented the United States at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. His work openly questions issues of imperialism and race. 'Regina Atra', a copy of the British royal crown, is displayed in the sumptuous and regal Norfolk House Music Room in the V&A's British Galleries.

The exhibit, which opened February 20 is free to the public at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The exhibit runs until June 17.


Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is a defender of social change, environmental issues and human rights. The Oscar and Emmy Award-winning actress has found tremendous success on stage and screen. In 2005 Jane's memoir, My Life So Far, immediately went to number one on the New York Times Bestseller list and Monster-In-Law, her first film in 15 years, became the number one box office hit, making her the first person to simultaneously have a number one book and a number one film.

She now directs her efforts to the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, a program she founded in 1995. She is a mother, an actor, an author, philanthropist, and feminist who continues to empower women all over the world.

This event is presented by Smart Talk Women's Lecture Series Wednesday, February 28 at the State Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ.

AN EVENING WITH SHIMON PERES twice Israel's prime minister, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Shimon Peres is one of the great statesmen of the modern world. His life and career has spanned the entire history of Israel from defense director under Ben-Gurion where he turned Israel into a major military power to working tirelessly for peace and securing the top-secret Oslo Peace accord in 1993.

Celebrating the publication of an official and definitive biography, he talks for the first time to biographer Michael Bar-Zohar about his personal reflections, and addresses major concerns for the future of Israel and the Jewish people. Monday, February 26 at the Kaufmann Concert Hall in NYC.

DAVID KENNEY'S EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN will feature an in-studio interview tonight, February 25, with Mark Murphy, six time Grammy nominee for best vocal jazz performance, who will celebrate 50 years in the business when he performs March 13th-18th at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola in NYC. Everything Old Is New Again can be heard every Sunday 9-11 PM (ET) over WBAI 99.5 FM

Broadway To Vegas is supported through advertising and donations. Priority consideration is given to interview suggestions, news, press releases, etc from paid supporters. However, no paid supporters control, alter, edit, or in any way manipulate the content of this site. Your donation is appreciated. We accept PAYPAL.
Thank you for your interest.


The New York Philharmonic's Spring Gala will have Avery Fisher Hall blooming with a semi-staged production of Lerner & Loewe's classic, My Fair Lady featuring an all-star cast of multi-award-winning Broadway performers. The black-tie Gala evening includes a Champagne reception before the performance and dinner with the artists following the March 7 concert.

Book & Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. Music by Frederick Loewe. Directed by James Brennan. Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Original Broadway production directed by Moss Hart.

The all-star cast of My Fair Lady includes award-winning Broadway performers Kelli O'Hara as Eliza Doolittle, Kelsey Grammer as Prof. Henry Higgins, Brian Dennehy as Alfred P. Doolittle, Charles Kimbrough as Col. Hugh Pickering, Marni Nixon as Mrs. Higgins, and Tim Jerome as Zoltan Karpathy. The conductor is Rob Fisher. With songs like The Rain in Spain, I Could Have Danced All Night, On the Street Where You Live, and I’ve Grown Accustomed to her Face. The original Broadway production won an unprecedented nine Tonys, and the film won eight Oscars.

Now, the New York Philharmonic presents Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady in four very special performances at Avery Fisher Hall, March 7 – 10, New York City.

CHERISHING ALL BENEFIT CONCERT on March 2 at the Irish Arts Center, in NYC. The evening is a benefit for the Queens St. Pat's for All Parade. This is the one parade in the city which allows all New Yorkers a chance to come and celebrate Ireland. Malachy McCourt Leads a Night of Irish Dancing, Singing, Storytelling and More.

In addition to McCourt those scheduled to perform at the benefit are: The Kiltic Dreams Irish Dancers, which is a group of 33 African-American and Hispanic children (with no background in Irish Culture) ages 7-12 from Public School 59, in the Bronx (an area which has a 95% poverty rate). The group began learning about Irish dancing when Caroline Duggan, a native of Ireland, was hired to teach music at the school several years ago.

Niall O'Leary School of Dance, the largest Irish Dance School in New York City. Niall O'Leary is a former All-Ireland and World Champion from Dublin, Ireland. Performers Fiona Walsh and Ann Design will team up to do a comedy act. Walsh's one-woman show, Great American White Teeth, was performed at the Midtown International Theater Festival and at the Irish Repertory Theatre. Ann Design has performed at clubs and colleges and in Ireland and London.

SATURDAY NIGHT ALIVE proceeds from the Denver Center Performing Art's Silent Auction event support the DCPA's Arts in Education programs, which serve 90,000 children annually.

A highlight — a walk-on part in an upcoming production.

Entertainment by the Neville Brothers, pre-show cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and dinner with post-show desserts and dancing. March 3, at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex in Denver.


is getting a face lift thanks to renowned architect Frank Gehry's two-phase pro bono two-phase design project. Gehry generously volunteered his time and expertise in honor of his long-time friend, Pasadena Playhouse Board Member Carol Burnett and Carol’s late daughter Carrie Hamilton.

"Our newest Board Member, Carol Burnett, is responsible for the great honor of initiating our association with Frank Gehry. This collaboration is a clear validation of where Pasadena Playhouse is at this moment in its long and illustrious history,” said Artistic Director Sheldon Epps.

Mr. Gehry’s design project for the Carrie Hamilton Theatre will involve two phases. The first phase is the imminent redesign of the interior of the existing Carrie Hamilton Theatre located on the second level of Pasadena Playhouse. The second phase features a proposed 300-seat Carrie Hamilton Theatre as part of the Playhouse’s long-range strategic plan.

“Frank and I have been friends for close to 25 years. A few months ago, we were out to dinner and Frank brought up the subject of the Carrie Hamilton Theatre, he’d read about it. Out of the blue, he volunteered to donate his talent to these projects – my jaw dropped,” recalled legendary comedienne, Carol Burnett.

"I got to know Carol Burnett as a very generous, wonderful person. And while I didn't know her daughter, I knew the anxieties that Carol was experiencing during Carrie's illness. When I heard that Pasadena wanted to name the small theater the Carrie Hamilton Theatre, I almost spontaneously said I should help Carol realize it and make it something special," added Frank Gehry.

Currently, the Playhouse is raising funds to complete an $8.5 million capital campaign to renovate this beautiful historic landmark theatre and rejuvenate the Carrie Hamilton Theatre, which was dedicated in honor of Carol Burnett's late daughter in July 2006. This performance space was designed to engage diverse audiences, ensure that live theatre is available to new audiences, reduce barriers to the theatre experience, and to sustain the art form through the mentoring of young and emerging artists. Existing programs include the readings series, Hothouse at the Playhouse; the Directors Lab West, which develops emerging playwrights, directors and actors; and artists-in-residence, Furious Theatre Company.

THE BARBICAN IN LONDON which offers five art forms under one roof, turns 25 on Saturday March 3, and to help celebrate they have been planning over 100 special events and activities which include; Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Alvar Aalto through the eyes of Shigrtu Ban, McCoy Tyner Septet, top ten films of the last 25 years, Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniciker launching Traced Overhead; the musical world of Thomas Ades, the London Australian Film Festival and Raymond Gubbay's Gala Celebration.


THE PRODUCERS which should have run on Broadway for another ten years, is closing on Sunday, April 22, six years and three days after it opened at Broadway’s St. James Theater. That translates to 33 previews and 2,502 regular performances.

The musical, which recouped its $10.5 million investment less than eight months after opening, dominated the 2001 Tony Awards, setting the record for most nominations with 15, then setting the record for most awards with 12.

have turned themselves into a San Diego tourist attraction. This group isn't shy about meeting their fans. Austin Lesch (Matthew), Ryan Ratliff (Mark), Jesse JP Johnson (Luke), Jay Garcia (John) and Nick Blaemire (Abraham) come to San Diego to spread the word. They detrain from the Amtrak Surfliner from LA, drop their luggage and sing some of their hit numbers for their Altarholic fans and downtown denizens on Monday, February 26 in downtown San Diego’s Santa Fe Station, in front of Courtyard Fountain.

On Thursday March 1 they perform at the House of Blues Delta Room in what is being billed as a Holy Happy Hour. That is followed at a Boyz Singalong at the Shout House. The week is full of assorted romps with the press, culminating with their March 6-11 gig at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

Altar Boyz which Broadway To Vegas loved - both the show and their CD - is an acclaimed off-Broadway musical comedy now in its second year, winner of the coveted Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Off-Broadway - the longest running new musical comedy to open in New York in years. Full of sharp parody, sinfully spectacular dancing, and irreverent humor, this spoof about a heavenly guy-group is adored by audiences and critics alike.

This Nederlander Presentation at the San Diego Civic Theatre also marks Jesse Johnson's 21 birthday - on March 8. Expect a party.

CRY-BABY Based upon the Universal Pictures film written and directed by John Waters. Book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Lyrics and Music by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger. Choreographed by Rob Ashford. Directed by Mark Brokaw.

“Well, They Took My Bike, Took My Guitar But When They Took My Girl, They Went Too Far.”

Five years ago Hairspray made its world premiere at The 5th Avenue Theatre and went on to win eight Tony Awards on Broadway. Now, another new Broadway-bound musical based on a classic John Waters film will make its world premiere at The 5th Avenue Theatre Baltimore, 1954. Everyone likes Ike, nobody likes communism, and Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker is the baddest boy in town. He's a rebel with a cause - truth, justice and the pursuit of rock 'n' roll - and when he falls for a good girl who doesn't want to stay that way, this square little suburb is sure to rock around the clock.

Through March 4 at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington.

THE BULLY PULPIT President Theodore Roosevelt takes the stage at Bristol Riverside Theatre, portrayed by actor and playwright Michael O. Smith in his one-man play The Bully Pulpit. The production is the fourth in BRT’s 20th Anniversary Season, and brings to life the dichotomies of one of our most memorable leaders.

Set in Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill, NY home, the play transpires in 1918, on the occasion of Roosevelt’s 60th birthday - what we now know was less than three months before his death.

He is ten years out of office as President, yet is as vibrant in spirit and exuberant in his story-telling as ever. But while reflecting upon the many adventures—and tragedies—in his life, “TR” is trying to come to grips with the legacy he will leave behind. War Hero or Conservationist? President or Father?

February 27 through March 18 at the Bristol Riverside Theatre in Bristol, PA.

by Brooklyn-born, South Carolina-educated Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder. This epic but intimate tale spanning 50 years of the 20th century follows the lives of Sadie Peltway and the women of Gee's Bend, Alabama, who create magnificent quilts, and while doing so, sing hauntingly beautiful gospel melodies. As the decades pass, Sadie endures and abusive marriage, racial indignities and the hardships of the working poor to emerge as a great artist and greatly admired human being.

The quilts of Gee's Bend were discovered by the mainstream art world after a 2003 show at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts that later appeared at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the High Museum in Atlanta.

was commissioned to write "Gee's Bend" as part of the ASF's Southern Writers' Project. Moorer appeared in last year's staged reading of the play, which was attended by a group of women from Gee's Bend and received a rapturous standing ovation.

The ASF has also commissioned a new play from Wilder, The Furniture of Home, about New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Performances at the Virginia Samford Theatre in Alabama March 1-4

THE YELLOW WOOD a new musical that received a 2006 Richard Rodgers Development Award, administered by the Academy of Arts and Letters are staging free performances at The York Theatre at St. Peter’s in NYC.

The Yellow Wood has music by Daniel Larsen, and book and lyrics by Larsen and Michelle Elliott. The director is Rebecca Lynn Brown; Chris Littlefield is music director.

The Yellow Wood follows a teen with Attention Deficit Disorder on his journey to self-acceptance. 17-year-old Adam is frantically trying to memorize Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken to recite in his English class, but because he didn’t take his Ritalin on this particular morning, he can’t get much farther than the first line, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…” before an amazing yellow wood begins to grow right there in his high school!

Desperate to prove he’s beaten his disorder, he struggles to memorize the poem—and as it begins to take on a life of its own, Adam is pulled deeper and deeper into the yellow wood, where he must decide which road he will travel.

Performances February 26 - 27 and March 1-2. Admission is free.

RESTORATION COMEDY by Pulitzer Prize-finalist Amy Freed, author of the hit off-Broadway play The Beard of Avon, has written a big and bawdy romantic comedy that mines the wit, style and sexual intrigues of the late 17th century. Restoration Comedy examines the push and pull of attraction and fidelity.

Directed by Jack Rando. Starring Marco Barricelli as Loveless and Caralyn Kozlowski as Amanda.

Scenic Design by Ralph Funicello. Costume design by Robert Blackman. Lighting Design by York Kennedy. The Stage Manager is Diana Moser and Jenny Salttery is Assistant Stage Manager.

Previews begin March 3 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego,CA.

On Monday, March 5 an Insights Seminar for Restoration Comedy will provide patrons with an opportunity to be more closely connected to the work on stage and backstage at The Old Globe. Artists from all phases of the production meet with patrons in a lively exchange of ideas and insights that enhance the theatre-going experience.

Written and directed by Tim Loane.

You think you've had troubles? Just wait 'til you meet the Power family. The war might be over, but what now for this disunited Republican family? Joe Power has done his bit for the cause and he's content to be decommissioned - but his wife Marian has other ideas for him and their wayward clan. An outrageous satirical farce about a fringe Republican family facing a little bit more of a crisis than most.

Contains unacceptable levels of violence, shameless sexual gratification and language which some political parties may find offensive.

Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Ireland opening Saturday, March 3 with performances through March 21.


MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS AND THE NEW WORLD SYMPHONY a lively evening of discussion and musical exploration, culminating in a performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Wednesday, February 28, at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

HARRY CONNICK, JR on stage Monday, February 26 at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in Orlando, FL. Tuesday finds him at the Johnny Mercer Theatre in Savannah, GA. On Thursday he's in the spotlight at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, NC. On Friday he stars at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in North Charleston, SC.

BONEY JAMES entertains Saturday, March 3 at the Newmark Theatre in Portland, OR.

JOSH GROBAN performs Monday, February 26 at The John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario. On Tuesday he can be enjoyed at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario. Thursday finds him at The Wachovia Center in Philadelphia and on Friday the show is at the Fleet Center in Boston.

ROD STEWART in the spotlight Friday, March 2 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. On Saturday he'll star at the United Center in Chicago.

ERIC CLAPTON entertains Wednesday, February 28, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. On Friday the show is at the Toyota Center in Houston. On Saturday he'll be delighting crowds at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS entertain at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL on Tuesday, February 27. On Wednesday they star at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Friday finds them at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA and on Saturday they can be found at Assembly Hall on Champaign, IL.

THE CHIEFTANS in the spotlight Tuesday, February 27, at the Eisenhower Auditorium in University Park, PA. On Saturday they'll get the beat going at the Coronado Theatre in Rockford, IL.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA stars at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Monday, February 26. Wednesday finds her at the Arenain Glendale, AZ. On Friday she's in the spotlight at the ipayOne Center At the Sports Arena in San Diego. On Saturday the show is in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay.

BILLY JOEL on stage Monday, February 26, at the Birmingham Jefferson Arena in Birmingham, AL. Thursday he can be enjoyed at the Philips Arena in Atlanta. Saturday he'll be playing and singing his hits at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC.

HARRY CHAPIN – A Celebration In Song of the incomparable Harry Chapin with this celebration of his music – this is A Chapin Family Concert with: Tom Chapin, Steve Chapin. The Chapin Sisters: Abigail Chapin, Lily Chapin, Jessica Craven. David Chapin, Jonathan Chapin, Clark Wallace, and members of the original Harry Chapin Band: Big John Wallace and Howard Fields. March 3 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada,CA.

PATTI LaBELLE one of contemporary music's living legends, LaBelle comes to the King Center Saturday, March 3rd for one performance only. This Grammy Award winning soulful diva extraordinaire has brought us such memorable hits as On My Own, New Attitude and Lady Marmalade. March 3, Melbourne, FL.

JOAN JETT invades The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 3.

ART GARFUNKEL entertains Thursday, March 1 at River Center Performing Arts in Columbus, GA. On Saturday he's on stage at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, IA.

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY have a two nighter Friday-Saturday at Harrah's Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, NV.


TONY DANZA who is currently on Broadway playing Max Bialystock in The Producers, had his caricature added to Sardi's wall last Thursday.

Following his Broadway stint Danza goes on tour with his delightful nightclub act.

Next Column: March 4, 2007
Copyright: February 25, 2007. 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.
Link to Main Page

Laura Deni