Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: October 26, 2008
By: Laura Deni


NACL is an acronym for North American Cultural Laboratory. NACL is also the chemical formula for Sodium Chloride, or Salt. The NACL molecule is essential to human life, but on an atomic level, its elements can be deadly. NACL has the power to melt ice, to disintegrate iron, to make wounds sting. NACL also brings out the natural flavor in your food, and acts as a preservative. NACL is a New York theatre company founded in 1997 by American director Brad Krumholz and Canadian performer Tannis Kowalchuk. Their mission is to bring together innovative contemporary theatre creators and ensembles from across North America to share their unique theatre work.

Brad Krumholz
Krumholz serves as the Artistic Director and spoke with Broadway To Vegas about the theatrical compound located in an area that for decades was synonymous with comedy.

"People associate comedy with the Catskills, but the Catskills of the olden days," said Brad. "If anything, I think it worked in our favor because The Catskills had theatrical association with it."

The NACL is a complex which provides for a variety of theatrical endeavors.

"We were a theater company in New York City, co-founded by myself and Tannis, who is a performer from Winnipeg. She was working with a Winnipeg group called Primus Theatre. I had met her in 1991 and collaborated with her company. NACL became a resident company at LaMaMa Theater. It's controversial but everybody has worked there on something. We started working there in exchange for rehearsal space. For two years I worked in the office as a grant writer for LaMaMa."

"One day a fax came in from a real estate company from up here who was selling this place. It was just a little sales sheet on the place. I photocopied it, so as not to be a thief," he laughed. "It looked like everything that I had already been dreaming of having - a nice large space where we can work; not pressured by the daily grind of the city, but be close enough to have some interaction with it."

A church has been converted into a theater.
Highland Lake, New York is located in the Delaware Valley and Catskills region - about a two hour drive from The Big Apple. There are eighteen crystal clear lakes, numerous trout streams and ten miles of the scenic Delaware River.

"It sounded exactly right and the price was insanely cheap," Brad explained. "There are two properties, adjacent to each other. The area was in an economic depression. They had been trying to sell this place for three years and couldn't. The price had gone way down. We swept it up. That was in 1999."

The next year was spent improving that fix-it-upper.

"It wasn't insulated. Every day and especially week-ends people would come up from the city, 20 people at a time, stay here and help us fix things," Brad fondly recalled.

Artists enjoy the opportunity to swim in the lake located across the street.
"They'd swim in the lake across the street. We'd cook and have great food and a great time. It was a work party. It was fantastic and by the end of the first year we were ready to work in there. Unfortunately, it wasn't heated, so we could only work in the theater during the summer."

In 2000 they started a yearly event now known as The Catskill Festival. It's original title was The First Ever Catskill Experimental Festival - a mouthful.

"The reason that I changed the name was not just because it is unwieldy but because it turned out that here - which is quite a different area - experimental work really rings odd for people. They have images of people running around naked, urinating on each other. That is not the kind of work that we do. We do really interesting theater that everybody can come and see."

The 9th annual festival successfully concluded on August 12.

"We have a budget that pays artists to come here and perform. We try to have the performing artists stay as long as possible, so they can see the other companies who are in the festival. We arrange for exchange workshops between the companies on non performance days. We go into the theater and spend hours leading others through exercises and exchanging techniques through work."

Performing is not the only group activity.

"Everybody cooks and cleans together," he divulged. "We run in kind of a communal way. The head chef organizes everything that has to be done. Everybody, regardless of who they are - director, actor, stage hand, whatever - if they are here with a company, they have to sign up for a cooking/cleaning shift to help prepare the meals and clean up afterwards."

"The theater is one building which is an old church, and the building next door is an old, 12-bedroom former resort hotel. That is where the artists stay."

"As a creative company, we are an ensemble. What that means is that everybody does everything. The people who are the actors in Sherlock Holmes also work in the administrative office. One does the website and one is organizing a fund raiser. Anything you do in an office - grant research - we do together."

"Our core people take care of bed making and cleaning of the house. The only thing that we ask of the artists is to sign up for cooking and cleaning shifts for the kitchen," he repeated.

"The rest of the year we are a rental facility."

While the guidelines are wide-open, experience has been a teacher.

The 12-bedroom former resort hotel, known as Lakewood House, is where the actors reside.
The theater’s lobby in the afternoon.
"Over the years we have learned that there are certain groups that function well here and certain ones that don't. We're not a hotel or a B&B and we won't rent it out unless you are doing work in the theater or the arts."

"We've been contacted many times by spiritual retreat people. But it seems that those type of groups are not readily in line with our artistic mission. There is a certain way that artists have that other people don't."

The most recent renter was the San Francisco based Theatre of Yugen.

"They had a paid gig in Buffalo - a strange circumstance, but not uncommon for us," he related about the troupe which conducted a seminar in Buffalo, presented in cooperation with The Asian Studies Program at the University of Buffalo.

"They did their show in Buffalo on Friday. Saturday morning they hopped into their vehicles and drove here. While they were driving I was hanging their light plot, because these days we can't afford to hire a technical director. When they arrived in the afternoon, we had set up everything the way they wanted it. They did their show. We had a great talk back with the audience. On Sunday morning they had a workshop for the local community on Japanese theater techniques," Brad explained.

Another example he gave was the Manhattan based Bond Street Theater. Under the direction of Joanna Sherman, the company received a MacArthur Foundation Award in 1990 for its interdisciplinary and intercultural programming.

Bond Street Theatre, founded in 1976, creates innovative works that address social and environmental issues, and uses the performing arts as humanitarian outreach and a tool for education and healing. Their work brings them to refugee camps, areas of conflict and post-war environments.

"They rented the place for two weeks and stayed here the entire time," Brad recalled. "They rehearsed a new show they were developing in the city, but came here on a retreat. They would spend less coming here than renting Manhattan rehearsal space. They got an amazing amount of work done. At the end of that time they presented their work in process to the local audience community."

Erik Ehn, Dean of the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts at CalArts
"We hosted a week-end retreat for the New York City playwrights group 13P. They did a silent writing retreat. They were led by a playwright from California and each of the 13P group spent the week-end in silence, with each one writing a 40-page play. The only person who could speak was the teacher Erik Ehn," he said of the Dean of the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts at the California School of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, CA.

"We also are a theater company. One of our primary goals is creating theater. That is our passion."

"We have own training techniques that we've developed from lengthy work with teachers before us. Denmark’s Odin Teatret and the research of Jerzy Grotowski."

Grotowski (1933-1999) was a Polish theatre director who developed the "theatre laboratory" and "poor theatre" concepts. Grotowski revolutionized theatre, and, along with his first apprentice Eugenio Barba, leader and founder of Odin Teatret, is considered a father of contemporary experimental theatre.

In 1964 Grotowski premiered The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus based on the Elizabethan drama by Marlowe. Foregoing the use of props altogether, Grotowski let the actors' bodies represent different objects, establishing an intimate dynamic of relation between actors and spectators by seating audience members as the guests at Faust's last supper, with the action unfolding on and around the table where they were seated.

"We have physical, vocal and creative training for the actors that we do every day," Brad added. "It's like we're musicians and we practice every day. We work on our bodies. We have specific exercises."

Their next theatrical effort is The Uncanny Appearance of Sherlock Holmes, which will be staged at HERE Arts Center in New York City, December 3 – 21. The show is a carnival-style crime investigation filled with live original rock music, high-energy acrobatics, slapstick comedy antics, cross-dressing, and twentieth century philosophy.

The play follows the world-famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, as he investigates the bizarre murders of Dr. Jeremy Nietzsche and Dr. Kevin Freud. To complicate matters, Holmes becomes embroiled in a competition of wits against a formidable female detective, Jacqueline Derrida. As the investigation progresses, the case begins to unravel, and so does the very fabric of Holmes's hyper-rational reality. This highly kinetic performance does not rely solely on narrative, as the performance is as much a rock concert as it is a play. The ensemble of actors doubles as a rock band and their original songs interlace with the narrative to reveal the inward spiral of Holmes's psycho-emotional disintegration.

"We believe that theater has a possibility of being physical and live," explained Brad. "Not in a dance movement way, but in a way in which people are moving about on stage," he said referring to no meaningless gestures. "Everything is precisely repeatable, even though it appears that it is happening for the very first time."

"It is essentially what Stanislavski was working on at the end of his life. After he explored everything he came to the understanding that what he called the method of physical action is the only way to create repeatable, emotionally full life on stage."

In Stanislavski's 'system' the actor analyzes deeply the motivations and emotions of the character in order to personify him or her with psychological realism and emotional authenticity. Using the Method, an actor recalls emotions or reactions from his or her own life and uses them to identify with the character being portrayed.

Method acting is frequently considered difficult to teach and even harder to explain.

"The characters develop in a very interesting way, based upon a physical action, not just based on a mental reaction to the script," Brad emphasized.

Brett Keyser as Sherlock Holmes. Photo by: Vickie Diescher
Tannis Kowalchuk as Watson
The Uncanny Appearance of Sherlock Holmes is a six person ensemble work. In addition to Brad and Tannis the two other core members are Glenn Hall and Sarah Dey Hirshan. Associate members work on a project to project basis.

"This show is a play, but also a rock 'n' roll show. Yes, it is unusual but if you know Sherlock Holmes it makes sense - his drug use, because he was a musician and because he was a rebel. You think of what kind of character would be drug user, musician, rebel? You put them together and what do you get? You get a rock and roll star. Except, in this case, he is a genius rock and roll star."

"The music functions as a revelation of Holmes' unconscious mind. In this play Holmes is quite challenged by a female detective named Jacqueline Derrida, named after the French philosopher," he said referring to Algerian born Jacques Derrida, known as the founder of deconstruction. His voluminous work has had a profound impact upon literary theory and continental philosophy. His best known work is Of Grammatology.

"What he did was to take the old poetry and philosophy texts and pull it all apart. He said - This is what everybody thinks this stuff means and everybody has thought that until now. But now I am saying there is an entirely different way of reading these old texts. He was really controversial but he was incredibly influential in modern philosophy."

"Here, sort of playfully, I am calling upon his name with the female detective. She comes in and immediately calls into question his reading of the crime scene."

"He is encountering her at a time in his life where he begins to unravel. The world of rock and roll, at first, is more distinct from the world of the play. Then the boundaries between the scenes and rock 'n' roll blur. A manifestation of his inner turmoil. As he becomes more unraveled, the songs chart that journey."

A rock scene from The Uncanny Appearance of Sherlock Holmes
"The acting ensemble is also the rock 'n' roll band. During the course of the year that we have been developing the show, we were also turning ourselves into a rock band. The drummer is Glenn Hall who plays an inspector. He used to be a drummer in a rock band in Winnipeg. He was the only one who had experience being in a rock band. Tannis Kowalchuk has a history of playing piano. Years ago she happened to take up the accordion, so she is playing that. Sarah Dey Hirshan had never played the bass, but we needed a bass player. She picked up the bass and practiced her butt off for a year. She is actually quite good. I played guitar in the past. I am in the show as a guitar player who appears to be a detective."

"We are not required to improvise. It's not a jazz show. We wrote the songs together. As we were writing them we were able to learn to play them. If you gave us a song that wasn't in the show it would take us some time to figure out how to play it," he confessed. "People think we are a rock and roll band. People are amazed at our proficiency on stage."

"In addition to all of this we have incorporated a lot of group acrobatics. A lot of partner acrobatics in which the people use each other as support for poses. There are flips, rolls, standing on each other's shoulders."

"What I wanted to do is create a show in which the reality can change, at any given moment, because Holmes' sense of reality is constantly shifting in the course of the play."

The economic stability of our country seems to be shifting as much as Holmes' character. A whiplash economy doesn't phase Brad.

"People need entertainment even in a down economy," he asserts. "Artists are the best suited to deal with tough times because they always have tough times. And, we always figure out a way to survive. There has never been a day in my artistic life where I just sort of sat back and said - Yeah, now I'm good. Now I have all the money I need."

After the New York run of The Uncanny Appearance of Sherlock Holmes the production has travel plans.

"We have a lot of connections with like minded theater companies throughout the country. Two of these are in New Orleans. We did a work in progress version of the show in New Orleans at the end of 2006. They want us back to stage the whole thing. We want to go there for a few weeks, do a run of our show and get involved in some community building down there, helping them. New Orleans is still having problems. They have been totally devastated. It was embarrassing the way they were left to rot. They are working so hard. Our friends down there are doing an amazing job in trying to keep the arts alive. We want to help them out."


NICE 'N' EASY: THE LYRICS OF ALAN AND MARILYN BERGMAN The Bergmans, Marilyn and Alan, are celebrating fifty years of a musical partnership (and a life one, too), which has produced some of the great love songs and has captured every major music award along the way.

They will perform some of their songs, and a famous guest or two will also deliver the special magic of a Bergman song.

How they write together and live together are memories they will share with us, as we enjoy archival video of legends such as Streisand and Sinatra performing the Bergmans’ work.

A private reception will precede the concert.

Monday, November 3, 2008 The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles.

BOTANICUM SEEDINGS continues its theatrical exploration by supporting new artistic voices through its this ongoing development series for playwrights.

On Sunday, November 2 the play reading will be Brett Webster's Lost and Found in the Underground, an expressionistic look at a sharply-divided America of the future. Directed by Ronnie Clark and featuring Theatricum company member Gerald Rivers, the play is a riveting piece of poetic propaganda which tells the story of a people who refuse to be held down. Through the language of sex, love, violence and hope, Lost and Found in the Underground delivers a fervent message, particularly on the eve of our country's very pivotal election.

Admission to the play readings is free and open to the public. The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is located in Topanga, CA which is midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley.

BERKELEY PAGE TO STAGE EVENT on Monday, November 3, to Bay Area theatre critic Robert Hurwitt interviews Mary Zimmerman about an illustrious career which includes the Tony Award-winning Metamorphoses; Argonautika and The Arabian Nights, which opens on the Thrust Stage November 13.

The talk will take place at the Berkeley City College Auditorium, Berkeley, CA.

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LIBRARY LIONS GALA is The New York Public Library’s most important annual event and one of the most anticipated dinners on New York City’s social calendar. Each year Library Lions honors several distinguished individuals for outstanding achievements in their respective fields of arts, letters, and scholarship.

Edward Albee, Ashley Bryan, Nora Ephron and Salman Rushdie will be feted at the November 3 gala with Toni Morrison as master of ceremonies.

Previous honorees have included such eminent figures as Oprah Winfrey, David Remnick, Martin Scorsese, Renée Fleming, Orhan Pamuk, Elie Wiesel, Audra McDonald, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Tom Stoppard.

This brilliant, black-tie gala takes place at the landmark Humanities and Social Sciences Library and attracts a high-profile crowd of more than 600 writers, fashion icons, celebrities, and government and corporate leaders.

Cocktails begin in Astor Hall, with dinner and the program following in the breathtaking Deborah, Jonathan F.P., Samuel Priest, and Adam R. Rose Main Reading Room.

The Library Lions Chairmen are Mr. and Mrs. Oscar de la Renta; H.R.H. Princess Firyal and Mr. Lionel I. Pincus; Mr. and Mrs. Richard S. Fuld, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. John B. Hess; Mr. and Mrs. Felix Rohatyn; Mr. and Mrs. Stephen A. Schwarzman; and The Honorable Merryl H. Tisch and Mr. James S. Tisch.

Held in tandem with the Library Lions Gala is the Young Lions Disco-themed Benefit Party which features cocktails, dessert, and dancing. Benefit Party Co-Chairs: Nicholas Brown, Claire Danes, Amanda Hearst, Michael Hess, Hudson Morgan and Andrea Olshan.

JAMES BOND MOVIE PREMIERE QUANTUM OF SOLACE will be attended by British Princes William and Harry. The red carpet gala takes place, Wednesday, October 29, at London's Odeon Cinema

At the request of the two royals, the event will benefit two charities, Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion. The premiere will be attended by the film's leading actors; Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric and Gemma Arterton. Directed by Marc Forster, the movie will be release internationally on October 31.

Also in attendance will be a bevy of black clad agents to offer added production for the 3rd and 4th in line to the throne. Recent threats against the young men are being taken seriously.

Help For Heroes was launched in October 2007 in response to the desire of ordinary people to do something practical to help wounded servicemen and women. Since 1921 The Royal British Legion has protected the interests, welfare and memory of those who are currently serving or have served, in the Armed Forces and their dependents.

Quantum of Solace is the 22nd James Bond adventure in the longest running franchise in film history and stars Daniel Craig as the suave British spy. Quantum of Solace takes its title from a short story published by Bond creator Ian Fleming in 1960.

which opened on Broadway October 30, 2003 has been celebrating its 5th anniversary with a weeklong series of events. The lights on the Empire State Building will be turned green from dusk to midnight on Monday, October 27, in honor of the occasion. On October 30, Playbill's trademark yellow banner will be specially printed green, the first time in the publication's history that it has altered its masthead.

Other commemorative events include a benefit concert for the New York Restoration Project called The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken. During the one night benefit Wicked composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz and book writer Winnie Holzman will share stories from the creative side of this blockbuster musical. Directed by Matt Lenz, scenes and songs cut from early drafts of the show will be performed by Ashanti, Joy Behar, Mario Cantone and former members of the Wicked cast. The benefit will also take place on Monday, October 27 at the Gershwin Theater.

On Thursday, October 30, at Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Triangle it's Stephen Schwartz At The Piano And In Conversation. The composer will appear in conversation with Carol de Giere, author of Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz from Godspell to Wicked.

Elizabeth Doran
has been chosen to fill the position of Managing Director of The Actors' Gang, concluding a two-month search.

Hailing from Patchogue, NY, Elizabeth Doran has a BA in theater arts and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Strategy. Her love of European-styled theater led her to Milan where she worked as a market strategist for the international fashion company Alviero Martini. She returned to the U.S. as the Director of Finance for La Jolla Playhouse. During her time at LJP she was a part of building shows like Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays and Jersey Boys which went on to New York City and great acclaim.

After subsequently working as the Orange County Performing Arts Center's interim General Manager as it completed its major capital campaign and construction of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Elizabeth returned to the East Coast to take on the Managing Director position at Capital Repertory Theatre, an established LORT regional theater in Albany, NY.

Ms. Doran replaces Greg Reiner, who, this past August, vacated the position he had held for seven years to become Executive Director of Tectonic Theater Project in New York.


THE NEW JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER has received an $11 million gift from prominent NJ philanthropist Betty Wold Johnson. This gift, is the single largest private sector contribution in NJPAC’s history. The majority of that gift, $8 million, will go toward upkeep of the center as well as updated technologies; the remaining $3 million will support urgent capital needs, artistic initiatives, and operations. This donation brings the Arts Center’s ongoing Campaign for NJPAC to over $170 million toward a $180 million goal.

written by Roman Feeser and directed by Linda S. Nelson.

On the morning of February 25, 2000, a young gay Mormon named Henry Stuart Matis drove to the Mormon Ward House in Los Altos, California, placed a gun to his head, and ended his life. This provocative drama is based on the actual events of his life in which he faced a tragic, false dilemma; either one is gay or one is Christian. Since he believed he was Christian, he thought he could not be gay. Trapped between his same sex attraction and the power of his LDS faith, Henry made the ultimate sacrifice, removing the chains of his mortality.

"The people who dressed him for burial were struck by the sight of his knees, deeply callused from praying for an answer that never came." ~ from an article by Mark Miller in Newsweek (May 8, 2000)

According to press notes: "His story is all the more timely as Mormons are a dominant fund-raising force in the California ballot fight (Proposition 8) to ban same-sex marriage, which will be voted on in November."

According to the Sacramento Bee newspaper, in an article published on October 13, 2008 - "Mormons ... have emerged as the leading financial contributors to the controversial Nov. 4 ballot measure. Church members have donated about 40 percent of the $22.8 million raised to pass the initiative since July, according to Frank Schubert, campaign manager for, the primary backer of the "yes" campaign." The cast includes Jai Catalano, Bill Fairbairn, Matthew Huffman, Warren Katz and Gail Winar.

The design/production team consists of Marisa Merrigan (Set Design), Graham T. Posner (Lighting Design), David B. Thompson (Costume Design), Justin Utley (Sound Design) and Melissa Carroll (Stage Manager).

Previews begin October 30 for a November 1 opening at The TBG Theatre in NYC.

Special opening night gala performance includes post-show reception honoring Affirmations, an organization supporting gay Mormons.

MARY'S WEDDING written by Stephen Massicotte and directed by David Rose.

This award-winning play follows Mary and Charlie from their unexpected meeting in a barn during a thunderstorm across the prairies of Canada and the battlefields of Europe. Stephen Massicotte spins a breathtaking saga about young lovers who must surrender their fate to the uncertainties of their tumultuous times. A testament to the power of memory and hope that lingers like a remembered dream.

Starring Ashley Bell as Mary and Brett Rybeck as Charlie.

In 2002, his play Mary’s Wedding premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects’ annual playRites Festival and was the winner of the 2000 Alberta Playwriting Competition, the 2002 Betty Mitchell Award for Best New Play and the 2003 Alberta Book Award for Drama.

Opened last night with performances through Sunday, November 23, 2008 at the Colony Theatre Company in Burbank, CA. There are question-and-answer talkbacks after the performances on Thursday, October 30, and Thursday, November 13.

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE the delightful, 2006 Tony Award winning musical with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar.

It all begins when a die-hard musical fan plays his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called "The Drowsy Chaperone," and the show magically bursts to life. We are instantly immersed in the glamorous, hilarious tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day, complete with thrills and surprises that take both the cast (literally) and the audience (metaphorically) soaring into the rafters.

October 29 - November 16, 2008 at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA.

ALL CHILDISH THINGS presented by BoarsHead Theater in Lansing, MI. They hope the cast members won’t be the only ones in costume on Halloween night. To encourage audience members to dress up for the holiday, the theater will give away one ticket voucher to each patron who attends the performance in costume.

The voucher may not be applied to the Halloween performance, but it can be used for any future performance during the 2008-2009 season.

All Childish Things is a Star Wars packed comedy written by Michigan playwright Joseph Zettelmaier. Set in Cincinnati, the play follows three childhood friends and one girlfriend as they try to commit the crime of the century...robbing the warehouses of Kenner Toys where the mother load of Star Wars figures can be found.

Dave, computer programmer and avid Star Wars fan, plans the heist from his mother's basement (where he still resides) with the help of Max, Carter and Kendra. When things go awry, friendships are tested and each faces the most important decision of his life. Not even lightsabers or Jedi knights can save the day for these Star Wars geeks.

Although Star Wars inspired costumes are not required, they are encouraged.

All Childish Things runs Wednesdays through Sundays until November 9, 2008.

THE LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS by David Rambo. Drawn from the life and letters of Ann Landers with the cooperation of Margo Howard. Directed by Brendon Fox.

Starring Mimi Kennedy.

Billed as a hilarious and touching sneak-peek into the inner-life of famed columnist Ann Landers. In 1975 we find Ann in her apartment faced with a deadline – her column is due but this time the advice she is writing is for herself.

Joining the creative team with Brendan Fox are Gary Wissmann (scenic design), Holly Poe Durbin (costume design), Trevor Norton (lighting design), Lindsay Jones (sound design), Michael Donovan (casting), Lea Chazin (production stage manager), and Hethyr Verhoef (assistant stage manager).

Performances through November 23 at the Pasadena Playhouse, in Pasadena,CA.

JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE written by August Wilson. Directed by Delroy Lindo in association with Lorraine Hansberry Theatre.

Haunted by seven years on a chain gang, Herald Loomis appears in Pittsburgh to reunite his family. Surrounded by the vibrant tenants of a black boarding house, he fights for his soul and his song in the dawning days of a century without slavery.

October 21-December 14, 2008 at Berkeley Rep in Berkeley, CA.

A SANDRA BERNHARD HALLOWEEN Actress, comedienne, author, singer and provocateur Sandra Bernhard promises plenty of "tricks and treats" as she storms the Steppenwolf stage for A Sandra Bernhard Halloween. Audience members are invited to attend in costume as the outrageous and outspoken star brings her band The Rebellious Jezebels for an unforgettable night of music, wit and social commentary. Two shows on Monday, October 27 at Steppenwolf in Chicago.

GET YOUR KICKS the 18th season of the Palm Springs Follies starts their engine on October 28 celebrating Route 66. The world-famous line of Long-Legged Lovelies and Follies Gentlemen - all 55 to 85 years young! - along with Follies Man Riff Markowitz will “travel” this highway via music, dance, comedy and all the iconic imagery of the road that Steinbeck called it The Mother Road and Todd and Buzz made famous with the television series Route 66. Established in 1926 and decommissioned in 1985, it traveled from Chicago to L.A. – 2,448 miles across the heartland of America.

Guest star Freds Payne opens the road trip on October 28 and continues through December 31. Palm Springs, CA.


MIKROKOSMOS continuing the series of experimental staged concerts of seminal twentieth century works, transition projects present selections from Béla Bartók's master work for the piano.

Composed between 1926 and 1939, and described by the composer as "a synthesis of all the musical and technical problems", the influential collection of 153 progressive piano pieces encapsulates Bartók's stunning compositional sound world.

Pianist: Ryan Wigglesworth. Projection art and VJ: Netia Jones. Featuring dancer Megan Saunders and Sculptor: Bálint Bolygó.

There will be an exhibition of kinetic artworks by artist and sculptor Bálint Bolygó. Megan Saunders is a recent graduate of the Laban dance school.

Wilton's is the world's oldest and last surviving grand music hall. Here, in the 1850s and 60s, classical overtures, dance, circus acts, opera, choral, and folk songs were enormously popular, long before "old time music hall" evolved. John Wilton built this theatre behind his public house, The Prince of Denmark in 1858, in Graces Alley, London.

A sun-burner chandelier with 300 gas jets and 27,000 cut crystals dominated a mirrored hall where George Leybourne (Champagne Charlie) sang. Rumor has it that the first ever Can-Can was performed and promptly banned at Wilton's. The auditorium remains incredibly intact - the original cast iron 'barley sugar' pillars support a papier-mâché balcony under paper roses set in a vaulted roof. In Wilton's day, 1,500 people used to cram into the music hall to hear the top acts - artistes from the Covent Garden were lured over in full costume to perform late night favorite arias. Today the hall has a license to seat 300 people.

Friday, October 31, 2008 at Wiltons Music Center in London.

BARBARA COOK silvery soprano, purity of tone, and warm presence have delighted audiences around the world for more than 50 years. Considered “Broadway’s favorite ingenue” during the heyday of the Broadway musical, she made her debut in 1951 and has played just about every leading lady role including Ado Annie (Oklahoma!), Julie Jordan (Carousel), Anna (The King and I) and Magnolia (Showboat). She went on to create the role of Cunegonde in the original production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide. This was followed by her creation of one of the classic roles in American musical theatre - Marian the Librarian in the première production of Meredith Willson's The Music Man, a performance which earned her the Tony Award.

As the closing concert in the 2008 Belfast Festival At Queen's, she performs on Friday, October 31 at Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

ALICIA KEYS performs Monday, October 27, at the Ahoy' Rotterdam in Rotterdam. Her European tour continues Tuesday at the Sportpaleis Antwerpen in Merksem, Belgium. Thursday finds her at the Zenith in Toulouse, France. On Friday she is at a same name venue - Zenith - but in a different city - Nantes, France.

BOB DYLAN entertains in Canada this week. He's on stage Monday, October 27, at Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary. On Wednesday the show is at the Rexall Place in Edmonton. Thursday finds him at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta. On Saturday he's on stage at the Brandt Centre in Regina, SK and next Sunday, November 2, he's in the spotlight at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

MADONNA closed out a two night gig, Monday, October 27, at the United Center in Chicago. On Thursday she's on stage at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. Saturday she begins a two night stand at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA.


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Next Column: November 2, 2008
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Laura Deni

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