Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: June 1, 2008
By: Laura Deni


Salt mine cavern. The Kansas Underground Salt Museum, the location of Hutchinson Salt Company, is a facility unlike any other in the United States; nowhere else in the Western Hemisphere is there a museum located in a working salt mine.
Enter an elevator and descend 650 feet into in a salt bed formed 275 million years ago during the Permian Age. You're wearing a hard hat and attached to your body is a breathing device - just in case. You have entered a different world. One of the largest working salt mines in the world, complete with George Clooney movie costumes and a murder-mystery dinner theatre presentation.

You are in the Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Lynnette Hilty Director of Marketing spoke with Broadway To Vegas about one of the most interesting sightseeing experiences a tourist can enjoy.

"This is the only museum of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. You can not go into any other working salt mine in the United States," she said.

Visitors to the salt museum enjoy a trip 650 feet below ground where they board a tram that takes them on The Dark Ride, an area of the underground mine. After The Dark Ride, visitors exit the tram and are then able to explore the museum exhibit areas at their leisure.

Museum displays include numerous movie costumes.

"The movie costumes come from Underground Vaults and Storage, which is a secured storage facility that also operates in our mine," explained Hilty whose museum leases its space from Underground Vaults and Storage. Kansas Underground Salt Museum and Underground Vaults and Storage share the mine elevator, and in its climate-controlled space.

Mannequin for Agent Smith - wearing a dark suit, eye shades and still in the wooden box - from the movie Matrix is on display
"It is their contracts with the movie industry that have allowed the costumes to be displayed in the museum. It is their exhibit which they have put into our museum," she elaborated.

A familiar phrase within the film and television industry, "Send it to the Salt Mine". This is the destination.

Going underground began decades ago. Film and television studios recognized that Underground Vaults and Storage had a uniquely cool and dry atmosphere, suitable distance from natural disaster and metropolitan exposure, and a location 58 floors below ground, were ideal for long term archiving of movie films. The film vaults are void of anything that challenges asset protection at surface level, including seismic activity, fires, and intrusion. The company has grown to secure more film and sound elements than any company in the Western Hemisphere. A member of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), a natural extension of the film and sound archiving services, was prop and costume storage.

The gallery, adjacent to the underground gift shop, showcases:

- Batman and Mr. Freeze costumes worn, respectively, by George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Batman and Robin.
- Agent Smith - wearing a dark suit, eye shades and still in the wooden box - from the movie Matrix.
- Superman costume worn by Dean Cain in the television series Lois and Clark.
- Snowman from the movie Jack Frost.
- Dorothy machine from the movie Twister.
- A shield worn by Brad Pitt in the movie Troy, as well as an ax from the same movie.
- A shirt worn by James Dean in the movie Giant.
- Cartoon-animated still scenes.

costumes worn by Cameron Diaz in Charlie's Angels are on view
"Along with collection from Warner Brothers, last month we added costumes from Sony pictures," Hilty reported. "We were given two racing costumes from Talladega Nights. We also have some items that were used in the move Ali starring Will Smith. We also have items that were used Men in Black II - the sunglasses worn by Tommy Lee Jones and the gun. We have costumes worn by Cameron Diaz in Charlie's Angels."

Getting costumes from LaLa Land to The Sunflower State means that refrigerated trucks regularly make runs to the West Coast for Underground Vaults, and the Warner Brothers Entertainment artifacts traveled to Kansas over the highways. Scott Gaba, Warner Brothers Entertainment's on-site costumer, and Barak Shedd, with Underground Vaults, wore gloves when they handled the displays, preparing them for display behind glass enclosures.

An extra special highlight of touring the salt mine and museum is being present when an interactive murder mystery dinner is staged.

"We run the dinner theater," continued Hilty. "This is an interactive, professional dinner theater. we've been doing it as a fundraiser for the museum. The next performance is June 7th.

Kevin O'Brien of Upstage Productions
"The actors are from Upstage Productions, which is a professional acting company based in St. Louis, MO. All of the scripts are written by the owner of Upstage Productions," she continued.

That is Kevin O'Brien who began his theatrical career by winning National First Place in NPR'S Young People's Radio Festival in 1977. He was a winner of the St. Louis Playwright's Festival in 1985 In 1991, his original melodrama The Wild West Show was sent by the Department of Defense to military bases in Korea, Japan, and Australia. Kevin began writing and producing his own murder mysteries in 1989. From 1994 to 1997, he appeared on a regular basis at the Lemp Mansion in South St. Louis, making their murder mystery dinners famous.

Some scripts he has penned are; Murder at Bunny and Clydes; Who Wants to Murder a Millionaire; Gone With the Passing of the Wind; Hitchcock Homicide; My Fair Murder; It's a Wonderful Death; Slay It Again, Sam; When Irish Spies Are Dying; The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Murder, and for the Salt Mine production, the appropriately titled Murder in the Mine.

Patrons enjoying a recent Murder Mystery Dinner respond to actor approaching the tables.
As the guests arrive, they are given roles to play. These parts are printed on slips of paper and assign each guest a name, occupation, and motive for murder. The guests are encouraged to mingle with one another and become familiar with one another's new names and identities. When all of the guests have arrived, they are seated, and the first act begins.

As the show progresses, we meet all of the characters our actors portray, and some of the main characters in the audience.

Once the murder is revealed, the actors unearth a nest of clues, and, with the help of the guests, begin to work at finding a solution. By the third act, scripted dialogue is abandoned and the audience encouraged to question the actors, with the hopes of discovering who dunnit.

Finally, a vote is taken. Whoever has followed the clues most closely and deduced the identity of the guilty party wins.

"We did a couple of these last year and had great response," exclaimed Hilty. "We decided that this was our niche. A lot of people can do other things, but this is something that nobody else can do. What better place could you have - a mine - it's already a place that has mystery and intrigue. So, bringing in a murder mystery dinner and it's just too close of a fit. We couldn't not do it."

Murder Mystery Theatre participants enjoy a nice meal - not your typical sandwich in a bucket miner food.
Since salt mines don't come equipped with a kitchen, the food comes to the mine.

"The food service is from The Hutchinson Town Club, which is a local private club," she stated.

The biggest problem for either the museum tours or the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre is a lack of space. With more than 67 miles of mined out caverns and the Hutchinson salt mine producing more than 500,000 tons of salt each year, the lack of space isn't within the mine. Ceilings range from 11' to 17' feet in height and the rooms are 2,500 to 15,000 square feet in size.

It's the dinky elevator that enforces crowd control.

"The elevator has limited capacity," was Hilty's understatement. "No way we can change that, because there is only one way in and one way out. We are limited to the fact that we have a 28-30 person capacity elevator to get you up and down. "

That means reservations.

Wearing hard hats and carrying a self rescue device visitors tour the mine and museum. The mine maintains a 68-degree temperature and 40% relative humidity year-round, making it a very pleasant environment. Comfortable shoes are recommended.
"You have to have reservations in advance!" she stressed. "There is no way people can show up the night of a Murder Mystery Dinner and be able to attend. For the museum itself, we are open Tuesday-Sunday. We take regularly scheduled tours throughout the day and the last tour goes down at 4 o'clock on a daily basis. With advanced reservations, we also know that when they arrive they have very little wait time."

For those with an inclination towards safety - fear not.

"There is no danger, none what-so-ever," Hilty emphasized. "Because of the Mine Safety Regulations put out by the Federal Government, everybody that goes into our museum wears a hard hat and a self rescue device, which is a breathing device. The Mine Safety and Health Administration has said - you need to have them with you."

"In our mine, they've never needed to be used, but we do require everybody keep one with them."

The museum is celebrating it's first anniversary and lest anybody thinks the experience is all movie memorabilia and perhaps a murder mystery - you can learn a lot from a salt mine.

In 1887, Ben Blanchard inadvertently discovered the commodity that was to give Hutchinson its nickname - The Salt City - and provide the area with its biggest industry next to agriculture.

Blanchard had hoped to drive up real estate prices across the Arkansas River in South Hutchinson by “striking oil.” In the dead of night he dumped several barrels of oil down a well to fool potential buyers. Blanchard actually struck salt approximately 400 feet below the surface.

His find was significant - he had discovered the United States largest salt deposit – a deposit more than 400 feet thick and stretching from Central Kansas into Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Up until then, salt deposits were only known to exist in Michigan and New York.

The discovery kicked off a salt boom. Twenty-six salt processing plants quickly developed as everyone tried to cash in on this “white” gold. Hutchinson would eventually become known as The Salt City.

Today there are three salt companies operating in Hutchinson and South Hutchinson: Morton International, Cargill Salt, and Hutchinson Salt Company, formerly Carey Salt Mine. The site of the Kansas Underground Salt Museum is the location of Hutchinson Salt Company.

Yesterday a new science exhibit was unveiled.

On hand were three scientists whose salt crystal research may have found the world's oldest living organisms. The exhibit is based on their discovery. Dr. Russell Vreeland, Dr. William Rosenzweig, and Dr. Dennis Powers reawakened bacteria from spores inside a 250-million-year-old salt crystal. Their research has indicated the cells from which those spores presumably formed were alive and active before the time of dinosaurs.

salt crystal
Some microorganisms form resistant structures called spores when exposed to adverse conditions. These spores have been found to survive for hundreds and even thousands of years under the proper conditions. Researchers now believe they have isolated halophilic (salt-loving) bacteria spores that were trapped in brine "bubbles" as the salt in the ancient sea evaporated and formed the bedded evaporite formation from which WIPP was mined. These organisms are the oldest ever discovered (220-250 million years old).

Intact salt crystals were carefully collected from the walls of WIPP's air intake shaft at a depth of 569 meters (1867 feet) below the surface. The nearly pure salt crystals contained fluid inclusions (tiny openings inside the crystals that contain a mixture of saturated brine and nitrogen). After thoroughly sterilizing the surface of the crystals, researchers drilled into and removed fluid from a tiny inclusion (less than 10 microlitres). The fluid was then inoculated into a growth medium under carefully controlled conditions. The new bacteria then grew from these spores, and complete gene sequences of the 16S ribosomal DNA subsequently showed that the organism is related to present-day species as part of the lineage of Bacillus marismortui.

Drs. Russell Vreeland and William Rosenzweig of West Chester University, Pennsylvania, and Dr. Dennis Powers, a Consulting Geologist in Anthony, Texas published a paper in the October 19, 2000 issue of the journal Nature. Their research continues to study the new organism and compare it with its present-day relatives.

"I think the biggest significance is, it is going to relate itself back to NASA, which is moving forward in this area, since some of the space missions are being curtailed," suggested Hilty. "The current look at Mars - is there or isn't there life on Mars? This research is going to allow for them to be able to prove that ancient waters can still hold ancient life."


To coincide with the V&A’s major exhibition China Design Now, one of China’s leading architects - Yung Ho Chang - will create a specially designed installation, Poly & Chai, in the V&A’s John Madejski Garden.

For the latest in the V&A’s summer garden commissions, Chang has devised a set of free standing screens inspired by traditional Chinese garden design that will be arranged around the space for visitors to walk through. The screens will be made from green recyclable plastic paving blocks, commonly used in parking lots and construction sites in China.

Yung Ho Chang established China’s first private architecture firm, Atelier FCJZ, in 1993. As well as overseeing a number of high profile architectural projects in China, Chang is Head of Architecture at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). His work can be seen in China Design Now, which showcases the latest in architecture, fashion and graphics to emerge from China.

June 2 to September 1, 2008 Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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The cast recording of the not-to-be-missed Lincoln Center Theater revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical has been released on the Masterworks Broadway label, a division of Sony BMG.

This is the first Broadway revival of the famed musical which made its stage debut in 1949 followed by the 1958 film adaptation. This revival was recently received 11 2008 Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical. Based on James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, the original Broadway production starred Mary Martin as Nellie and Ezio Pinza as Emile when it opened at the Majestic Theatre on April 7th, 1949. Rodgers and Hammerstein's second-longest running show at 1,925 performances, it won all of its 11 Tony nominations in 1950, including Best Musical.

The current production headlines three-time Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara as nurse Nellie Forbush and renowned baritone Paulo Szot as French plantation owner Emile de Becque. Matthew Morrison is Lt. Cable. This CD is a stunning recording - a must addition to any collection - even if a customer already owns any of the other South Pacific cast recordings.

The South Pacific company is a bevy of talent including; Danny Burstein as Luther Billis, Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary as well as Sean Cullen (as Cmdr. William Harbison), Victor Hawks (Stewpot), Luka Kain (Jerome), Li Jun Li (Liat), Laurissa Romain (Ngana), Skipp Sudduth (Captain George Brackett) and Noah Weisberg (Professor). The ensemble comprises Becca Ayers, Wendi Bergamini, Genson Blimline, Grady McLeod Bowman, Charlie Brady, Matt Caplan, Christian Carter, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Jeremy Davis, Margot de la Barre, Christian Delcroix, Laura Marie Duncan, Mike Evariste, Laura Griffith, Lisa Howard, Maryann Hu, Zachary James, Robert Lenzi, Garrett Long, Nick Mayo, George Merrick, William Michals, Kimber Monroe, Emily Morales, Darius Nichols, George Psomas, Andrew Samonsky and Jerold E. Solomon.

Unique to this stage presentation is the inclusion of the song My Girl Back Home, which is a duet between Lt. Cable and Nellie Forbush, the song was cut from the original Broadway production but reinstated for the 1958 film adaptation. A 2001 TV version starred Glenn Close and Harry Connick Jr. A cast recording of the sold-out Lincoln Center South Pacific concert that was presented at Carnegie Hall in 2005 was released on April 18, 2006.. That event starred Reba McEntire, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Alec Baldwin and Lillias White.

This revival CD was recorded April 14 at New York's Legacy Recording Studios.

Musical director Ted Sperling conducts a 30-piece orchestra performing the musical's original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and dance and incidental music arrangements by Trude Rittmann. Associate conductor Fred Lassen. Music Coordinator David Lai.

Violins: Belinda Whitney (Concertmaster), Antoine Silverman, Karl Kawahara, Katherine Livolsi-Landau, Lisa Matricardi, James Taso, Michael Nicholas, Rena Isbin; Violas: David Blinn, David Creswell; Cellos: Peter Sachon, Caryl Paisner, Charles Du Chateau (assistant Conductor), Bass: Lisa Stokes-Chinn; Flute/Piccolo: Elizabeth Mann; Clarinets: Todd Palmer, Shari Hoffman; Oboe/English Horn: Matt Dine; Bassoon: Damian Primis; French Horn: Robert Carlisle, Chris Komer, Shelagh Abate; Trumpets: Domonic Derasse, Gareth Flowers, Wayne Dumaine; Trombones: Mark Patterson, Mike Boschwn; Tuba: Marcus Rojas; Harp: Grace Paradise; Drums/Percussion: Bill Lanham.

Additional musicians for the recording sessions: Violins: Joyce Hammann, Claire Chan, Entcho Todorov, Laura Seaton, Violas: Richard Brice, Ronald Lawrence; Cello: David Calhoun; Bass: Pete Donovan; Timpani: Barry Centanni.

Produced for the CD by David Caddick, David Lai and Ted Sperling. The engineer was Tod Whitlock. Mastered by Battery Studios by Vic Anesini.

The complete track listing for South Pacific follows:
A Cockeyed Optimist
Twin Soliloquies
Some Enchanted Evening
Paulo Szot as French plantation owner Emile de Becque and Kelli O'Hara as nurse Nellie Forbush
Bloody Mary
There Is Nothin' Like a Dame
Bali Ha'i
My Girl Back Home
I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair Reprise: Some Enchanted Evening
Wonderful Guy
Reprise: Bali Ha'i
Younger Than Springtime Reprise: A Wonderful Guy
This Is How It Feels
Finale Act I
Happy Talk
Reprise: Younger Than Springtime
Honey Bun
You've Got to Be Carefully Taught
This Nearly Was Mine
Reprise: Some Enchanted Evening
Reprise: Honey Bun
Finale Ultimo

Doug Wright
the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who has won numerous awards during his career both as a playwright and as a screenplay writer, added another one to his collection when he receive the Great Plains Playwright Award at the May 31 closing gala hosted by Academy-Award winning actress Patricia Neal.

Among Wright's works are I Am My Own Wife, for which he received both the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award, Quills which earned as OBIE Award, Grey Gardens and the stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid, currently on Broadway.

The third Great Plains Theatre Conference took place in Omaha, NE hosted by Metropolitan Community College.

The conference, in addition to honoring established playwrights, holds an extensive writers’ workshop and a series of play labs.

Playwrights selected for this year’s conference hailed from 22 states, Hungary and Turkey, and were chosen through a blind competitive process of readers. Over 175

Special events included I Can’t Remember Anything, an evening with Tony Award-winning actress Tammy Grimes accompanied by Joel Vig at Omaha Community Playhouse.

The conference, in addition to honoring established playwrights, holds an extensive writers’ workshop and a series of play labs. Playwrights selected for this year’s conference hail from 22 states, Hungary and Turkey, and were chosen through a blind competitive process of readers.


uses their annual gala on June 5 to create art. Over the past several years Long Wharf Theatre's annual Gala has developed another goal beyond its status as the theatre's largest fundraising event of the year - it is another opportunity to create interesting art. Theatre designers transform seemingly mundane spaces - rehearsal halls and scene shops - into tangible manifestations of the magic Long Wharf Theatre presents on its stages.

For the past month Long Wharf Theatre posed a challenge to local artists to explore the theme of Opening Doors - the title of the 2008 Gala. Several noted artists used doors culled from the renovations of Managing Director Joan Channick's home to create fascinating works of art.

The doors will be auctioned off at the Gala, giving donors the opportunity to own a unique piece of art while supporting the mission of Long Wharf Theatre.

Jerry Meyer, artists and former chair of the Board of Trustees, the artists will include Keith Hyatte, Long Wharf Theatre's charge scenic artist who has painted over 230 sets at Long Wharf; acclaimed architects Cesar Pelli, Peter Newman and Ben Ledbetter; the creative forces of the Eli Whitney Museum's workshop under the leadership of Bill Brown; and theatre designers Vladimir Shpitalnik and Michael Yeargan.

The door designs are as unique and varied as the reasons why people love the theatre. For example, William Brown created a door to resemble a children's puppet theatre. "We like the metaphor . . . that theatre is a door. It seemed appropriate to reverse the idea and make the door into a theatre. We like the idea that some child will own this theatre. Some child will begin a life in theatre," Brown said.

Opening Doors kicks off with a cocktail hour and a silent auction, followed by a performance by Broadway stars Emily Skinner and Lauren Kennedy The evening concludes with dinner and a silent auction. Broadway performers Tony Award nominee Emily Skinner and Lauren Kennedy will headline the annual gala on June 5 for Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.

COMDEN & GREEN'S NEW YORK - FROM GREENWICH VILLAGE TO THE GREAT WHITE WAY the annual benefit gala for Greenwich House Music School which takes place Monday, June 9 at the Barrow Street Theatre in NYC. All proceeds from the event will benefit will be matched thanks to a challenge grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. The income earned from the endowment will go toward scholarships for deserving students and the school's music education outreach programs in NYC public schools.

Amanda Green, daughter of Adolph Green and an award-winning lyricist, will write and direct this one-night-only event. An exciting roster of theater stars will present many of Betty Comden & Adolph Green’s hits- from the hilarious materials the duo wrote and performed as The Revuers at The Village Vanguard in the 1940’s to their huge hits on Broadway and in classic films like Singin’ in the Rain.

Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the quintessential New Yorkers, never stopped chronicling, skewering and celebrating the city they loved. Comden & Green enjoyed six-decades of collaboration, from writing, performing as The Revuers with Judy Holliday in the 1940’s to their greatest successes on Broadway and in Hollywood over the next fifty years. As playwrights, performers and lyricists, they co-authored such Broadway hits as On the Town; Wonderful Town and On the 20th Century, as well as the screenplays for Singin’ in the Rain and The Band Wagon. Comden & Green’s masterful lyrics include Just In Time; The Party’s Over; Make Someone Happy; Some Other Time and New York, New York (A Helluva Town). The benefit evening will be homage to their revues and will include hilarious songs from the early shows, as well as many classic Comden & Green hits.

Those performing at the benefit include: Michael Arnold, Kate Baldwin, Stephanie J. Block, Walter Bobbie, Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Jonathan Freeman, Ann Harada, Sean Martin Hingston, Norm Lewis, Jessica Molaskey, John Pizzarelli, Mary Testa and Max Von Essen.

Greenwich House Music School has been providing high quality, affordable music education to the people of New York City since 1905. The School has occupied its current location at 44 - 46 Barrow Street in historic Greenwich Village since 1914 and has played an important part in the careers and lives of tens of thousands of students including John Cage, Harry Chapin, Henry Cowell, Edgar Varese and former New York City mayor Ed Koch.

GHMS serves the community with a wide spectrum of concerts and readings in its Renee Weiler Concert Hall, hosts education workshops and meetings for local civic and cultural organizations and provides affordable rehearsal and performance space for musicians. The school's Arts-In-Education program, now in its 14th year, expands its reach even further by providing music instruction in several New York City public schools.

SHOW BOAT BENEFIT FOR CARNEGIE HALL takes place June 10. Music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, based on the novel by Edna Ferber. Musical director Paul Gemignani will conduct the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett Concert Adaptation by Doug Wright. The benefit will be directed by Francesca Zambello.

Starring: Becky Ann Baker (Parthy Ann Hawks); Carolee Carmello (Julie LaVerne); Alteouise deVaughn (Queenie); Gregg Edelman (Steve Baker); Nathan Gunn (Gaylord Ravenal); Jonathan Hadary (Cap'n Andy); Gavin Lee (Frank Schultz); John Bedford Lloyd (Vallon); Alvy Powell (Joe); Celena Shafer (Magnolia Hawks); Megan Sikora (Ellie May Chipley); Carly Rose Sonenclar (Kim).

The creative team will also feature; Musical Staging by Robert Longbottom; Acme Sound Partners, Sound Design; Gregg Barnes, Costume Consultant; Alan Adelman, Lighting Designer; S. Katy Tucker, Video and Projections Designer; Tara Rubin, Casting Consultant.

The gala evening will begin with dinner at Remi Restaurant, followed by the concert at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage of Carnegie Hall, NYC.

New Georges' 2008 Gala Benefit is Monday June 9 in the fancy five-story NYC Tribeca apartment of Morgan Brill and Greg Agran. The only benefit we've heard of that encourages attendees to first have a pedicure - because the flip flops footwear will be provided.

The evening honors Tony nominee Martha Plimpton, currently topping up Top Girls. The evening will also feature short plays throughout the house by playwrights: Neena Beber (Jump/Cut) in the harem room, Kara Lee Corthron (Cave Krewe) and Kia Corthron (Force Continuum) in the master closet, Eisa Davis (Bulrusher, 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist) in the long patio, Jenny Schwartz (God's Ear) in Dylan's room, and Kathryn Walat (Victoria Martin: Math Teen Queen) in the rooftop pool.

Actors included in the plays will be Kal Penn, Alison Pill, Carolyn Baeumler, Michel Chernus, Deborah Green, Marielle Heller, and Tommy Schrider. The Tribeca Plays will be directed by Jessica Bauman and Sarah Cameron Sunde.

The Gala Committee: Eric Aboaf & Cheryl Whaley, Jenny Lyn Bader & Roger Berkowitz, Jim Baldassare, Carol Ballock, Jessica Bauman & Ben Posel, Neena Beber & Mark Turkel, Audrey Bernfield, Vicki & Bradley Bodwell, Morgan Brill & Greg Agran, Deborah & Ted Brodheim, Camilla Enders & Jim Bernfield, Will Forte, Matthew Goldstein & Amy Strassler, Marielle Heller & Jorma Taccone, Garland Hunter & Matthew Ritchie, Anne Kauffman & Charles Goldman, Christina Kirk & John Hamburg, Camryn Manheim, Lisa McNulty, Ellen Melaver & Jon Krupp, Claude Millman & Susan Bernfield, Nancy Northup, Jan Ohye & Osni Omena, Michael Osso & Scott VandeVoort, Alison Pill, Jenny Schwartz & Aaron Stone, Nancy Gordon Seif, Hal Shaftel & Jennifer Mendelsohn, Sonya Sobieski & Robert Davenport, Felicia Stingone & Phillip Rutherford, Sarah Cameron Sunde, Lisa Timmel & David Markus.


CHARLES DICKENS' mahogany desk and chair where he penned Great Expectations and attended to his correspondence hours before his death at 58 in 1870 will be sold at a Christie’s auction in London on June 4th. The sale of the furniture, expected to bring $100,000 to $160,000 will benefit the Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London.


Stephen Quint as The Modern Major General in The Pirates of Penzance. Photo by Michael A. Nemeth
America’s foremost Gilbert & Sullivan repertory ensemble, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, is staging part 2 of G&S Fest 2008, a festival of Gilbert & Sullivan productions featuring an unprecedented number of shows in one season, slated for June 6-15th on the great stage of New York’s historic City Center.

Under the artistic and music direction of Albert Bergeret, the company has presented over 2,600 performances throughout the United States, Canada, and England. Incorporating a 25-piece orchestra, the productions feature contemporary energy while retaining a traditional respect for each of the G & S masterpieces. New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players is considered by many to be the nation’s “leading custodian of the G & S classics.”

G&S Fest 2008 will continue on June 6th with H.M.S. Pinafore, followed by encore productions of The Pirates of Penzance; The Mikado and The Gondoliers.

The NYGASP productions are performed under the baton of Albert Bergeret, who also serves as stage director. A sampling of the season’s casting includes NYGASP veteran actors in the following roles:
William Whitefield as Giuseppe in The Gondoliers. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
David Wannen as The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance credit: Carol Rosegg
H.M.S. Pinefore - Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B. – Stephen Quint, Captain Corcoran – Richard Holmes, Ralph Rackstraw – Colm Fitzmaurice, Bill Bobstay, Boatswain – William Whitefield, Bob Beckett, Carpenter – David Wannen, Dick Deadeye – Louis Dall’Ava; Josephine – Laurelyn Watson Chase, Cousin Hebe – Victoria Devany, Little Buttercup – Angela Smith.

The Pirates of Penzance - Major-General Stanley – Stephen Quint, Pirate King – David Wannen, Samuel – David Macaluso, Frederic – Colm Fitzmaurice, Sergeant of Police – David Auxier, Mabel – Sarah Smith, Edith – Erika Person, Kate – Melissa Attebury, Ruth – Angela Smith.

The Mikado – David Wannen, Ko-Ko – David Macaluso, Pooh-Bah – Louis Dall’Ava, Pish-Tush – Edward Prostak, Yum-Yum – Laurleyn Watson Chase, Peep-Bo – Lauren Wenegrat, Pitti-Sing – Melissa Attebury.

The Gondoliers - The Duke of Plaza Toro – Stephen Quint, Don Alhambra, The Grand Inquisitor – Richard Holmes, Marco Palmieri – Colm Fitzmaurice, Giuseppe Palmieri – William Whitefield, The Duchess of Plaza Toro – Angela Smith, Casilda – Michele McConnell, Gianetta – Laurelyn Watson Chase, Tessa – Erika Person, Inez – Victoria Devany.

The NYGASP productions will have costumes designed by Gail J. Wofford; lights designed by Sally Small, and scenery by Mr. Bergeret.

Audiences of all ages will enjoy the NYGASP Family Overture series of entertaining and informative pre-show musical introductions and plot summaries. Hosted by Artistic Director Albert Bergeret, these interactive and fun-filled presentations are offered on June 7th; for Pirates; June 8th for Pinafore; June 14th for Mikado and June 15th for Gondoliers.

Chita Rivera and George Hearn in The Visit. Photo by Scott Suchman
Book by Terrence McNally. Music by John Kander Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Based on Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 1956 satirical play about greed and revenge Der Besuch der alten Dame. Adapted by Maurice Valency. Choreographed by Ann Reinking. Directed by Frank Galati.

Two-time Tony winners and Broadway legends Chita Rivera and George Hearn star in this new musical based on one of the great plays of the 20th Century. Riviera created the role of Claire Zachanassian in the original 2001 production of The Visit at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

The musical adaptation of the darkly comic play, originally developed as a vehicle for Angela Lansbury, was scheduled for a Broadway opening when Lansbury withdrew due to the illness and subsequent death of her husband. Riviera was signed as her replacement, but the project ultimately was aborted.

In the autumn of 2001, The Visit, directed by Frank Galati and choreographed by Ann Reinking, was staged by the Goodman with Rivera and John McMartin.

Joining Riviera and Hearn in this mounting is Tony nominee Marc Jacoby who plays The Mayor, a role he created in Chicago.

The ensemble of The Visit. Photo by Scott Suchman
The Visit cast includes Bethe Austin as Annie, the mayor's wife; D.B. Bonds as young Anton; Matthew Deming as Louis Perch; Alan H. Green as Benny; Jim Harms as Rudi; Michael Hayward-Jones as The Priest; Howard Kaye as Lenny; Doug Kreeger as Evgeny; Mary Ann Lamb as young Claire; Jerry Lanning as The Doctor; Ryan Lowe as Jacob Chicken; Karen Murphy as Matilda, Anton's wife; Brian O'Brien as Kurt; Cristen Paige as Ottilie; Kevin Reed as Karl; Hal Robinson as The Police Chief; Jeremy Webb as The Schoolmaster, plus Leslie Becker, Robert Mintz, Brianne Moore, Christy Morton and Kimberly Sherbach.

When the play opens, the town is preparing a celebration of the arrival of Claire Zachanassian, a former resident who had since attained an incredibly great fortune and is coming back to visit. The return is Claris first since she was driven from the town at the age of 17 when she was impregnated by her boyfriend, Anton Schell (played by Hearn) who, at the paternity suit, denied the charges and bribed two drunks to testify that they had slept with Claire, and she was shamed out of the town and eventually forced into prostitution.

Several decades and seven husbands later, Zachanassian has become the richest woman in the world, yet her hometown has fallen on hard times. Zachanassian returns with an offer to save the town - provided one condition is met.

Set design by Derek McLane, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Howell Binkley and sound design by Matt Rowe. Orchestrations are by Michael Gibson. Musical supervision and musical direction is by David Loud. Musical conductor is Jon Kalbfleisch.

Reprising her Goodman role, Rivera straps on the wooden leg of Claire Zachanassian, the vengeful lady at the center of the show, playing to June 22 at Signature's Max space. The production is part of Signature Theatre Company's current Kander & Ebb festival. Officially opened May 27 with performances through June 22, Arlington, Virginia.

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH by former United States Vice President Al Gore will be turned into an opera by Giorgio Battistelli. The Italian composer has been commissioned to produce a full-length opera based on Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth and the Oscar-winning documentary of the same title. The production is to be part of the 2011 season at the fame Milan opera house, La Scalla, which made the announcement on Thursday. The composer is currently artistic director of the Arena in Verona.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Based on the Roman comedies of Plautus.

The raucous comedies of Roman playwright Plautus were written two hundred years before the birth of Christ, but are still being performed today. This Tony Award winning romp takes the familiar characters – wily slave, henpecked husband, domineering wife, lovesick youth, arrogant warrior – and creates non-stop musical comedy hilarity. The witty Sondheim score tell us immediately what to expect – "Comedy Tonight!"

Directed by Wayne Bryan. Choreography by John MacInnis. Musical Director by Thomas Wesley Douglas. Sets by J. Branson. Costumes Supervised by Debbie Roberts. Lighting by David Neville. Sound Design by David Muehl.

June 4 - 8 Music Theater of Wichita in Wichita, KS.

A THOUSAND WORDS an innovative evening of 9 new short plays inspired by the artwork of some of Downtown LA's leading visual artists. Pairing 9 visual artists with 9 playwrights, 9 directors, 14 actors, 3 designers and a composer; this 90-minute event explores the creative possibilities of over 40 artists collaborating across disciplinary boundaries and celebrates the ongoing legacy of artistic cross-pollination in downtown Los Angeles.

Visual Artists/Playwright pairs:
Robert Reynolds/Guy Zimmerman
Alberto Miyares/Coleman Hough
Matt Aston/Chris Kelley
Emmeric James Konrad/Sharon Yablon
Taz/Rachel Jendrzejewski
Lilli Mueller/Phinneas Kiyomura
Jett Jackson/Heidi Darchuk
Alexandra Koiv/Alex Foreman
Rick Robinson/Alisha Adams

The 9 directors are: Shirley Anderson, Mickey Swenson, Lauren Campedelli, Gray Palmer, Nick Faust, Adrian Alex Cruz, Gill Gayle, Chris Kelley and Mark Adair Rios.

14 Actors are: Michael Shamus Wiles, Mickey Swenson, Phinneas Kiyomura, Coleman Hough, Heidi Darchuk, John Horn, Greg Littman, Jack Littman, Lisa Denke, Tina Preston, Caroline Duncan, Phoenix Gonzalez, Adrian Alex Cruz and Niamh McCormally.

Original Music and Sound Design: John Zalewski. Art Director: Timothy Bride Keating. Lighting Design: Dan Reed.. Additional Music: Mark Stein. Presented by Padua Playwrights. Previews June 6, 7 and 8; Opens Friday, June 13, continues through June 29 at Art Share L.A.

THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO written by Alfred Uhry and directed by Jules Aaron.

It's December of 1939. Gone with the Wind storms the silver screen. Hitler invades Poland. But the biggest concern of Atlanta's Freitag family is Ballyhoo, a lavish ball for southern Jewish socialites. When Uncle Adolph brings Joe - his new, very eligible assistant - home for dinner, the romantic schemes begin. This comedy captures the same heartfelt warmth as the author's earlier success, Driving Miss Daisy.

The cast will feature Stacy Barnhisel as Lala, Ellen Crawford as Boo, Michele Marsh as Reba, Michael Rothhaar as Adolph, James Leo Ryan as Peachy, Gregory Sims as Joe and Kate Steele as Sunny.

The set design is by John Iacovelli. Lighting design is by J. Kent Inasy. The sound design is by Josh Bessom. The costume design is by Richard Odle. The Production Stage Manager and Properties Designer is Terry Hanrahan.

The Last Night of Ballyhoo will begin performances on Friday, June 6 and will run through Sunday, June 22 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada, CA.

SHANGHAI MOON written by Charles Busch. Directed by Carl Andress.

It's Shanghai 1931 and Lady Sylvia Allington, the alluring wife of an English diplomat falls for a notorious Chinese warlord. Scandal, bedlam and outrageous fun ensue in Charles Busch's delirious homage to movie melodrama of the 30's.

Starring: Charles Busch, Jarlath Conroy, Julie Halston, Jodi Lin, Gordana Rashovic and Thomas Sesma.

Set Designer: B.T. Whitehill. Costume Designer: Dona Granata. Wig Designer: Katherine Carr. Lighting Designer: Philip Rosenberg. Sound Designer: Jill BC Du Boff. Production Stage Mgr: Don Myers.

June 3-29 at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY.

Three Murderers (L to R: Paul Brindley, Jason Guess, Drew Fitzsimmons) attack Lady Macduff (Elizabeth Tobias). Photo by Ian Flanders
by William Shakespeare. Theatricum Botanicum artistic director Ellen Geer co-directs with Chad Jason Sheppner.

Full of murder, treason, ambition and greed, Macbeth is a brilliant political thriller about the rise and fall of a brave warrior who would be king at any price. Haunted by prophecies and goaded by his ambitious wife, Macbeth sets in motion an evil and bloody rise to the throne. The last and darkest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Shakespeare's play is loosely based on the story of Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, who reigned as king of Scotland from 1040-1057 A.D. It is a chilling tale of greed, corruption and death that follows Macbeth’s transformation from a battlefield hero to a bloody tyrant.

The cast of Macbeth features Theatricum company members Jim LeFave as Macbeth; Melora Marshall and Susan Angelo, alternating in the role of Lady Macbeth; William Dennis Hunt as Duncan; Mike Peebler as Malcolm; Michael McFall as Banquo; Aaron Hendry as Macduff; and Elizabeth Tobias as Lady Macduff.

June 7 through September 28 at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga CA.

CHICAGO welcomes Carol Woods as she returns June 2 in the role of Matron Mama Morton. Ambassador Theatre in NYC.


LIZA MINNELLI began her British tour last Monday at the London Coliseum where she received 6 standing ovations. Her two night gig was followed by a performance at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham on Friday. This week she is in the spotlight Monday, June 2, at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. On Wednesday she'll receive more standing ovations at Symphony Hall in Birmingham. She ends her UK tour on Friday with a performance at Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow, Scotland.

KEVIN DOZIER who was named Male Performer of the Year at the 2003 San Francisco Cabaret Competition, will make his NYC debut on Monday, June 2nd at Don’t Tell Mama. Kevin’s musical director is Christopher Marlowe with direction by Scott Barnes. The show features material from the Great American Songbook and the Great White Way. Kevin will appear at Don’t Tell Mama on Mondays, June 2, 9, 23 & 30 and Tuesday, June 17.

NANCY EVANS continues her Psychobabble show tonight, Sunday, June 1, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, NYC. Then Nancy transfers the act to Broadway Baby Bistro in NYC June 5 and 12. During the evening Nancy invites you to join her in a session with her psychiatrist. This crazy New Yorker spins and tilts as she revels in and reveals her many moods with wacky medleys of Broadway, Jazz, and Pop Standards. Personality swings, emotional sambas and quirky blues will never be the same. Directed by Dennis Deal. Co-created by Jeff Halpern and Nancy Evans.

TONY DANZA makes a return engagement the return engagement of entertainer to Feinstein's at Loews Regency in The Big Apple June 3 – 14. His new show I Could Have Danced All Night, – featuring his usual mix of music, comedy and dance – includes songs like Dancing in The Dark; Let's Face The Music and Dance; The Last Dance and At The Hop.

EMMYLOU HARRIS performs with John Prine on Friday, June 6, at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. Next Sunday she appears at the Wakarusa Festival in Clinton Lake St. Park in Lawrence, KS.

KD LANG continues her Canadian tour with a stop Tuesday, June 3, at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina, SK. On Wednesday she's on stage at the Sid Buckwold Theatre in Saskatoon, SK. Thursday finds her at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre in Winnipeg, MB and next Sunday, June 8, she can be enjoyed at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, AB.

CHRIST BOTTI blows his horn Tuesday, June 3, at the Cultural Center in Macao, China and then spends over 15 hours on a plane arriving back in the states to perform Saturday, June 6, at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.

FRANKIE VALLI AND THE FOUR SEASONS you've seen the Tony Award winning musical - now see the inspiration. The group performs Thursday, June 5, at the Topeka Performing Arts Center in Topeka, KA. On Friday they start a three night gig at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. NE.

KT SULLIVAN AND MARK NADLER IN A SWELL PARTY: RSVP COLE PORTER This special musical evening event, commemorating Cole Porter’s birthday, also features Loren Schoenberg. Monday, June 8, The Town Hall in NYC.

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND open a two night stand on Tuesday, June 3, at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camdem, NJ. On Friday they'll be on stage at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL. Saturday finds them at the Busch Stadium in Saint Louis, MO.

ALICIA KEYS brings her show to the Bell Centre in Montreal on Tuesday, June 3. On Thursday she can be enjoyed at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Friday finds her at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, MI. On Saturday the show is at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL.

BON JOVI brings his tour to Europe this week with performances today, Sunday, June 1, at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain. On Tuesday he'll be delighting the crowds at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany. Wednesday finds him at the Magna Racino in Vienna, Austria and on Saturday he's on stage at Punchestown Rececourse in Naas, Ireland.


A free performance on Sunday, June 8, featuring more than 20 local, international and student dance companies performing some of the best dance that NYC has to offer - in the heart of Times Square!

The Times Square Alliance partners with Dancers Responding to AIDS and the many astonishing dance groups and artists who work with them - to bring creativity to the Crossroads of the World.

2008 Participating Dancers and Companies:
Ajkun Ballet Theatre; Angel Feliciano - The Movement; Balam Dance Theatre; Bollywood Axion; Broadway's Cry-Baby; Buglisi Dance Theatre; Darrah Carr Dance; Darrell Grand Moultrie; David Dorfman Dance; Drew Jacoby; Farmington Dance Company; Keigwin + Company; Martha Graham Dance Company; Monroe Dance Company; Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company; Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre; Pilobolus; R.Evolucion Latina; Revolution; Wendy Seyb and The United States Dance Team.

Founded in 1991 by former Paul Taylor dancers Denise Roberts Hurlin and Hernando Cortez, Dancers Responding to AIDS (DRA) is a fundraising program of the Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA), the nation's leading industry-based AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. DRA is the ongoing committed response from the American dance community to an urgent worldwide health crisis. The funds that DRA raises are distributed to over 485 AIDS and Family Service organizations across the United States and as direct services to all entertainment professionals nationwide. These programs provide emergency financial assistance for rent subsidies, health insurance, food and other basic necessities. Over 100 million dollars have been raised since 1988.

Next Column: June 8, 2008
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Laura Deni