Broadway To Vegas
SHOW REVIEWS CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS GOSSIP NEWS
Copyright: April 12, 1999
By: Laura Deni
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JULIE ANDREWS RETURNS TO
Julie Andrews is set to star in An Evening with Julie Andrews September 18 at The Palace
Theater at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. After battling back from health problems the last
three years the incredible star is back on the marquee.
This won't be the first time the multi-talented lady has taken to a nightclub stage.
an Oscar for her first film,Mary Poppins and then taking home an Emmy for her first
television show, Andrews took on Las Vegas, making her worldwide nightclub debut at
Caesars Palace in an August 12-18, 1976 engagement.
When then hotel president, Billy
Weinberger, asked her if she would include songs from her Broadway musical My Fair
Lady the performer answered; "Yes, and for what you are paying me, I'll sell flowers in the
She didn't sell flowers, although she sold out the showroom.
The singer/actress marched on stage
as a Buckingham Palace guard, tapped her way through a nostalgia segment, recalled a place
fondly remembered as Camelot and how she "could have danced all night," in My Fair
Lady. Her Sound of Music closer was rewarded with a standing ovation.
Caesars staged a lavish dinner following the show in the Palace Court restaurant. Don Rickles,
who stars at the Desert Inn hotel April 22-25, was not only in attendance, but in character.
Racing to be on time for his own show at the Riviera Hotel he whispered, "Quick, gimme a shot
of insulin," referring to Julie's sweetness. Diana Ross was there in gold lame raving about
Andrews, as was everyone else.
Andrews spent her spare time playing roulette in the casino.
Andrews began her career at the age of 12 when she played an egg in Humpty Dumpty.
No yolk intended.
She starred on Broadway in Camelot, and walked into everyone's
hearts as Mary Poppins and as Maria in The Sound of Music. The theater world stood at
attention when it was announced that Andrews would return to Broadway as star of
Victor/Victoria. Sadly, the heralded opening was the beginning of a personal three-act
drama of health problems.
In February, 1996 she underwent gall bladder surgery while starring in Victor/Victoria.
She missed 21 performances. During that time attendance dropped to only 75% capacity.
According to court papers filed by the insurance carrier for the show, Lexington Insurance, a
subsidiary of the American Insurance Group, those missed 21 performances caused a loss of
$980,848. It's no wonder the lobby of the Marquis Theatre featured a huge get well card signed
by everyone from co-stars to the cleaning staff.
According to the same court papers, in January, 1996, Andrews missed 10 performances due to
laryngitis, and in December, 1996 missed five performances due to a swelling of the larynx. The
following June the legend underwent throat surgery. Fears immediately surfaced that Andrews
would never again be able to sing.
A representative of The Palace Theatre said; "she probably won't be singing" and wasn't sure what
the Myrtle Beach engagement would encompass. If she just stands on stage and doesn't
sing a note, being in the same room with her is worth the price of a ticket, which are priced at $40
On May 13 Andrews will be honored during the 50th Anniversary annual spring luncheon of the
New Dramatists, an organization dedicated to developing new playwrights. Andrews is being
honored for her lasting contribution to the theater.
FROM HOT LIPS TO COOL JEWELRY
Loretta Swit, a.k.a. Hot Lips - the nurse with the reputation - on the long running
M*A*S*H television series, is developing a different reputation - as a classy jewelry
The talented actress is on a tour with a one woman show Shirley Valentine.
don't know where she finds the time, but all of the jewelry in the line that bears her name is
designed and made by the actress.
Long an animal activist, Swit recently received the Humanitarian Award from Dusty Wings, a
group formed 16 years ago by ex-stewardesses.
The group held their annual gala at the
Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, CA. Their pet project is Guide Dogs of the Desert. That
association trains dogs to provide independence and mobility to the blind and multi
It costs approximately $20,000 to train one dog.
Swit is well known as a tireless worker for projects involving animals.
Twice she was named
Woman of the Year by the Animal Protection Institute and by the International Fund for Animal
STAPLETON AIMS FOR BROADWAY
Maureen Stapleton who became a household name thanks to her portrayal of TV's Edith Bunker
and recently was delightful in the movie You've Got Mail, is anxious to return to
The actress opened at the McCallum Theatre, Palm Springs, CA last night - April 11 - in
Eleanor - Her Secret Journey. The multi dimension Stapleton takes on the daunting task of
portraying Eleanor Roosevelt. The play, written by Rhonda Lerman, a successful novelist and
biographer of the former first lady, is adapted from her research on Mrs. Roosevelt.
The play begins in 1945. Eleanor, a recent widow, received
a phone call from President Harry
Truman asking her to be a delegate to the United Nations.
Eleanor declines and then the play
flashes back to her youth, explaining events that would later
cause her to become a feminist
supporter. The play also has Eleanor addressing her husband's
Stapleton's goal is to take Eleanor to Broadway.
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MAC AWARD WINNERS
Town Hall was the setting for the annual MAC Awards, which stands for Manhattan Association
of Cabarets and Clubs, and honors cabaret, comedy and jazz in 32 categories.
received the Directors Award for her encouragement of young performers.
She also received two standing ovations.
A performer who is always hyperkinetic, she teased
herself about her weight gain, indicating there was "so much more of me to appreciate."
of missed Las Vegas performances rumors have been circulating that Minnelli's voice is shot. Her
performance of Stormy Weather set the record straight.
Kathie Lee Gifford, who seems to polarize people, had the crowd in her corner. She also
performed, offering a specialty piece about what has been written about her entitled It
Betty Buckley did a splendid rendition of Serenity.
Legend Barbara Cook, who is celebrating 50 years in the business, received two awards, a special
lifetime achievement award, as did her accompanist Wally Harper. Cook also received the major
female vocalist of the year award
The only other performers to walk away with two awards each were; Amanda Green for best
musical comedy performer and special musical material and
Tom Andersen ( See Broadway To Vegas column of November 30, 1998 )
as male vocalist and recording of the year.
Other winners included:
Mary Foster for young jazz singer
Heather MacRae best female vocalist
Bobby Belfry, pop R&B vocalist
Baby Jane Dexter, major pop R&B vocalist
Angela LaGreca, female stand-up
Judy Gold, major female stand-up
Ron Poole, male stand-up
Jim David, major male stand-up
John Pizzarelli the major jazz performer award
James Naughton, best
LUCILLE LORTEL AWARDS
The coveted Lucille Lortel Awards, considered the Off-Broadway version of the Tony Award,
will be passed out to the winners May 3 at the Lucille Lortel Theater.
Wit takes home the prize for Outstanding Play. In a clean sweep, Wit star
Kathleen Chalfant was named Outstanding Actress. Wit director Derek Anson Jones takes
home the Best Director Award.
Mark Ruffalo of This Is Our Youth was named Best Actor The Mystery of Irma
Vep by Charles Ludlam received The Outstanding Revival award. Paula Vogel's The
Mineola Twins won the Set Design and Costume Design categories. There was a tie in the
Lighting Design division. Sharing the spotlight are Kevin Adams for The Mineola Twins
and Michael Chybowski for Wit.
WOODSTOCK STOCKS UP
Woodstock 99 scheduled for July 24-25, at Griffiss Park, about 50 miles west of Albany, NY is
gearing up for an estimated 250,000 concert-goers. Gathering to the under 30 generation, the
performer mix has mostly bands that were in diapers when the original Woodstock took place in
Bethel in 1969.
Willie Nelson is set to perform, of course, as is President Clinton's brother, George Clinton, the
wonderful Brian Setzer Orchestra, the Dave Matthews Band, Jewel, Metallica and Alanis
Six returning acts participated in the 25- year anniversary concert. They are; Metallica,
Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sheryl Crow, Live and collective Soul.
Jumping on board this year's event are; Korn, Limp Bizkit, Fatboy Slim, Sugar Ray, Creed,
Counting Crows, Rage Against the Machine, and Rusted Root.
Both Sheryl Crow and Korn perform tomorrow, April 13, in northern California. Crow at the
Paramount Theatre in San Francisco and Korn at The Arena in Oakland.
GAME OVER IN LOVE MATCH
After two years of marriage Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi have filed for divorce in Las
They fell in love and became engaged before Shields was cast in the starring role of Susan
in the hit television series Suddenly Susan. Demands of taping that series first caused
a delay in wedding plans, then became the biggest wedge in the split.
After their wedding was postponed because of Suddenly Susan taping demands, a very
much in love Agassi was sincerely making unrealistic promises. "Between her career and my
career, her career comes first. I will only play tennis as long as I improve. Brooke has
worked a long time to finally get this series. We're definitely going to be together and watch the
first episode together. "
"Everything Brooke dreams of is my goal and I'll do everything to make her dreams come true,"
continued. "So much of what she does is behind the scenes. She goes to an acting coach, studies
acting lessons. So much of what she does is behind closed doors, so I just have to be there
when the doors open and let her know that I support everything she does."
It would have been unrealistic to expect Agassi to give up his tennis career and turn into "Mr.
Their professional schedules kept them apart. Recently, Brooke guested on a television talk show
and admitted that she would like to have a baby. She then divulged that the pregnancy delay was
because she was never able to spend any time with her husband.
Brooke and Andre are two lovely people that Las Vegans adore. (See Broadway To Vegas
August 3, 1998.) We also knew there was trouble in the marriage. (See Broadway To Vegas
February 22, 1999) We wish them both the best.
Shields' official statement said: "We have the utmost love and respect for each other and will
remain the best of friends."
THE MUSIC GOES ROUND AND
The original cast recording of Lizzie Borden with music by Christopher McGovern; book
and lyrics by McGovern and Amy Powers is out on Original Cast Records.
( See Broadway To Vegas column of January 25, 1999 )
The musical creations are so complete that a listener will enjoy the CD even if they haven't seen
the stage production. The musical construction reminded by of Les Miserables, which is a
compliment since Les Mis is a long running hit.
as Lizzie Borden
McGovern and Powers obviously work well together. The lyrics actually provide an intelligent
storyline, providing the listener an understanding of not only the play, but of the emotions within
each scene. McGovern effectively uses music as an emotional pen. A crescendo, a pause, the
tinkling of a piano, the crash of cymbals, the drama of a cello or three/four time - each speak their
own language. The listener isn't bored or confused - rather enthralled - caught up into the action
of the play.
In 1893 Lizzie Borden, accused of the "crime of the century" - hacking her father and step mother
to death, was acquitted Yet, she remained a prisoner. The scandal made her a pariah - freed by
the judicial system but sentenced by her contemporaries.
As with the real live events, the songs on this CD range from edgy and riveting to sad and
desperate. Fly Away tells of Lizzie's oppression. The House on the Hill is of
longing - the life Lizzie craves. First Tea Party examines Lizzie as the ambitious
volunteer, who so desperately wants to fit in - and doesn't. This era where "women have a role in
politics - a gracious one. - Assisting in a dignified way." Every Time I Look At You is
heart wrenching - Lizzie remembering her twelfth birthday, and the gold locket she received from
her ordinarily parsimonious father. I Cry Alone when Lizzie - alone - breaks down.
Lizzie Borden the original cast recording is a must for anyone who appreciates
Conductor/piano/keyboards and orchestrations by McGovern. Jennifer Gravenstein on cello.
Percussion and percussion arrangements by Glen D. Wikofsky. Original vocal direction by Rick
Church. All should be proud of their accomplishments.
Cast on the CD include; Michael Babin, Joan Barber, Madeline Blue, Bethanne Collins, Brenda
Cummings, Alison Fraser, Eleanor Glockner, Rex Hays, Steven L. Hudson, Jamey, McGaugh,
Rose McGuire and Marian Steiner. Lizzie Borden received its world premiere at The
American Stage Company, NY on October 31, 1998.
GET WELL SOON EVEL KNIEVEL entered Sunrise
Hospital, in Las Vegas last Wednesday fearing that the liver he received last January in a
transplant operation, was either being rejected - or that hepatitis C has also taken over his new
Knievel suffers from hepatitis C.
From his hospital bed the 60-year-old dare devil taped
a public service announcement asking people to get checked for the disease, which gradually
destroys the liver, and affects millions of people.
Tests determined that the liver isn't being
rejected. The hospital explained that his body "was just being attacked by the hepatitis." He
was released from the hospital.
IRENE WORTH who suffered a
mild stroke. She was in previews of Ring Around The Moon at the Belasco Theater.
Marian Seldes has replaced Ms. Worth until she is fully recovered.
JUDI DENCH opens on Broadway
this Thursday, April 15, in London's National Theater hit Amy's View. The brilliant actress
will also be honored May 1 when she'll receive a Golden Quill Award, presented by the
THE LONESOME WEST
begins previews April 19, opening April 27 at the Lyceum Theatre. Written by Martin McDonagh
who also penned The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Gary Hynes, who made theatrical history
when she became the first woman ever to win the Tony Award for Direction for her work with
The Beauty Queen of Leenane, will direct The Lonesome West.
features the original cast from the Druid/Royal Court production.
the new musical play,
written by Pam Gems, about Marlene Dietrich, which stars Sian Phillips and is directed by Sean
Mathias opened last night, Sunday April 11, at the Cort Theatre, NYC.
performed several times in Las Vegas.
After achieving fame as the vamp in top hat and blue
stockings in 1929's The Blue Angel, her rendition of Falling In Love Again
became hers alone.
Her sultry contralto delivery was in good form when she starred at the Sahara
Hotel in December, 1953. Her accompanist was Burt Bacharach.
She also showed up in
for the Sands Hotel's fourth anniversary party, as one of 450 invited dignitaries.
In 1962 Dietrich
teamed up with Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong for an engagement at the Riviera Hotel.
off her gorgeous legs by demonstrating the latest dance craze - the Twist.
A DOLL'S HOUSE winner of
four 1997 Tony Awards opens Thursday, April 15, at Theatre Charlotte, N.C. Performances run
through May 2.
BRING IN DA NOISE, BRING IN DA FUNK opens tomorrow, April 13 for a six night stand at the Carr Performing Arts
RAFAEL FILM CENTER opens
its new $6.8 million Rafael, California center which is touted as comparable to the American
Cinematheque in Los Angeles or the Walter Reade Theater Film Forum in New York.
three-screen venue will showcase new independent for foreign-language movies in addition to
documentaries and the classics.
A three-night festival April 16-18 will inaugurate the center. On
April 16 the U.S. premiere of Breakfast of Champions, starring Nick Nolte, Bruce Willis
and Glenne Headly takes place.
That is followed the next night with the world premiere of
Election, starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Broderick is extending his
stay as star of the Broadway show Night Must Fall, which moves Wednesday from the
Lyceum to the Helen Hayes Theater NYC.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
words and music by Stephen Sondheim continues at The Civic Theatre, Orlando through April 18.
a delightfully zany
talent, has joined the case of Over The River and Through The Woods at the John
She steps into the part of Aida Giannelli, a meddling, loving grandma, who sincerely
believes that all problems can be solved by Italian cooking.
Ballard should feel comfortable in the
role. Ballard starred in What A Dummy a one-season (1990-91) syndicated television
series, in which she played Italian grandmother Treva Travalony.
The Cleveland born Ballard,
who was discovered by Spike Jones, first jumped onto Broadway in The Golden Apple,
becoming an instant hit when she knocked em dead with her rendition of Lazy Afternoon.
The comedienne/singer spent decades as a Las Vegas regular. In 1956 she starred with Larry
Storch at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel (now the Flamingo-Hilton.)
A regular on the nightclub
and cabaret circuit her act encompasses, singing, and comedy - to playing the flute with her
and a dead-on impression of Liza Minnelli's dog.
Frequently Ballard includes a monologue in
which she forgives her mother for ridiculing her showbiz aspiration telling Kaye she
had a big mouth, a Raucous voice, and a weight problem."
Ballard co-starred with Eve Arden in
the 60s television hit series The Mothers-In Law.
Her Broadway credits include
Molly, Carnival, and The Pirates of Penzance.
PAUL ANKA April 18 at the Konocti
Harbor Resort & Spa, Kelseyville, CA.
SEEMS APPROPRIATE Rodney
Dangerfield, that guy who gets no respect, opens on tax day, April 15, at the MGM-Grand hotel,
RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN gives
new life and dimension to The Sound of Music. Martin Beck Theatre NYC.
Lucille Frank in the shuttered too soon Parade on Broadway.
She replaces the previously announced Jean Smart in Bells Are Ringing.
appeared on Broadway in 1776, City of Angels, and Falsettos.
Bells Are Ringing production kicks off Reprise! Broadway's Best in Concert's at
the UCLA Freud Playhouse May 12-23.
Other cast members include; Stephen Bogardus who
starred in City of Angels and Gary Beach of Beauty and the Beast.
SHARON LAWRENCE stars with
the fabulous Cherry Jones in Tongue of a Bird, at the Public Theatre NYC. Lawrence,
whom many associate with her role as Sylvia on NYPD BLUE, started out as a Broadway
stage actress, appearing in Zorba, Cabaret, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Following Tongue of a Bird, look for Lawrence to star in the revival of Kiss Me
ELAINE ST. GEORGE
ELAINE ST. GEORGE
new cabaret show The
Girl That I Marry at Judy's, Chelsea's newest cabaret, opening April 29.
Musical conductor is Paul Katz, who created the musical Tales of Tinseltown and
of Dooley on NBC's Another World.
St. George is a graduate of the Brearley School and
Her latest CD is Just Around the Corner.
St. George's show at Judy's will feature cabaret standards and show tunes, many usually
performed by male singers.
The Girl That I Marry will be directed by Ellen Rievman.
player Frank Wagner will also perform.
BIG BAND CONCERTS have proved
successful for the Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas. The Stardust has previously featured the bands of
Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Russ Morgan, Si Zentner, Buddy Childers, Tex Benecke and
Harry James. On April 24 The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, one of the most prominent dance bands
of the Swing Era, takes center stage. Appearing with the band will be the Pied Pipers, the vocal
group that earned fame with the band led by Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy's brother. The Jimmy Dorsey
Orchestra is led by Jim Miller, a former musicians in the Dorsey Brother's Orchestra, a band that
was co-directed by Jimmy and Tommy. Upcoming big band engagements at the Stardust include
the Glenn Miller Orchestra, July 3; Ray Anthony on Sept. 11; Les Brown moves into the
spotlight on Oct. 30 and Guy Lombardo rings in the new millennium on Dec. 31.
THIS AND THAT
LEONARD NIMOY Shekhina:
Feminine Presence of God, images by the actor/director are on display through April 24 at the
Photographer's Gallery, Palo Alto, CA.
SALLY JESSE RAPHAEL will
emcee this year's Gracie Allen Awards for women in broadcasting. Today, April 12, at the
Hudson Theatre NYC.
PLAYBOY CENTERFOLD for the
month of May is Las Vegan Tishara Cousino, who is hoping taking it all off will lead to a
modeling career. In the meantime the 20-year-old is on a busy schedule that has included dinners
at the Playboy Mansion, and meeting star Dan Aykroyd and boxer Oscar DeLa Hoya. The
brunette beauty works out five times a week and fasts three times a year.
JULIE HARRIS underwent surgery
in Florida April 3, to drain fluid from her head She received the injury when she fell off a
stepladder during performances of The Gin Game in Connecticut. She is expected to make
a full recovery and return this week to the touring production's Washington engagement.
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL loses some of it's blood line when a downsized version opens at the Neil
Simon Theater this fall. The current production, at the Minskoff Theatre, which has 41 cast
members, closes May 30. The re-worked version will open with a cast of 29.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER is
holding auditions in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles, for the Broadway production which
begins previews Sept. 28 and officially opens on Oct. 21 at the Minskoff Theatre, NYC
BIG SUR JAZZ FEST The fourth
annual event is April 16, 17, 18. Sunday's benefit concert features; The Roy Hargrove Sextet;
Avishai Cohen Sextet; Mondell Lowe; Dave Ellis Quartet; Omar Sosa Quartet; Ledisi; Mark
Levine Trio and Virginia Mayhew. Outdoors in Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur, CA
TITANIC - SHIP OF DREAMS a
$7 million attraction docked this past week-end in Orlando. The 25,000-square-foot attractions
permits tourists to relive the disaster. Adventure includes 200 artifacts along with a costume worn
by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Titanic, and memorabilia from the film A Night
to Remember. The attraction re-creates the ship's grand staircase and has actors roaming the
rooms as passengers. Titanic is a joint venture with Magicworks Entertainment, which
became a subsidiary of SFX Entertainment last year. The company provided the Broadway
musicals Cabaret and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Admission to the Titanic
attraction is $14.95 plus tax for adults. Children get to pretend they are sinking for $9.95.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR The
Louisiana International Goat Festival in Opelousas, LA is April 17.
LUCILLE LORTEL known as the
Queen of Off Broadway died in NYC. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is named after her. She either
producer or co-produced about 500 plays, five of which were nominated for Tony Awards. In
1986, the Lucille Lortel Awards were established by the League of Off Broadway Theaters and
Producers to honor achievements in Off-Broadway Theatre. She established the Lucille Lortel
Fund for New Drama at Yale University to support the production of new plays at the Yale
Repertory Theater. The Lucille Lortel Fellowship in Play writing was started at Brown University
in Providence, R.I. in 1996. She was 98 and would truly hate it that all of the obits have listed
such personal information. She would bristle at inquiries about her age, snapping: "Age is a
number and mine is unlisted."
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Next Column; April 19, 1999
Copyright: April 12, 1999. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary,
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