Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: April 16, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Tovah Feldshuh will appear as Anda in Anda's Love at the Old Globe in San Diego. She also appeared alongside the Chicago Symphony for a one-night historical concert of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín. The concert benefited Holocaust Community Services and took place at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago on Thursday, March 23.

National Jewish Theater Foundation – Holocaust Theater International Initiative at University of Miami Miller Center Remembrance Readings is composed of simultaneous events drawing upon the power of theatre to honor Holocaust victims and survivors. This effort will stimulate an appreciation of how the art of theatre can and must be used as a tool to deepen the understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons in contemporary society.

This year the memory of Elie Wiesel is being honored.

Some of the events include:

The Old Globe in San Diego will participate with a reading of Anda’s Love by Joshua Sobol, directed by the Globe’s Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, featuring Globe favorites Tovah Feldshuh and Natacha Roi, with Talley Beth Gale reading stage directions. Translated from the Hebrew by Roland Rees and Sobol, adapted for American audiences by Edelstein, the reading will take place on Monday, April 24 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.

From Israel’s most prominent living playwright comes the first English-language reading of a moving drama about the ongoing legacy of the Holocaust. 2002: As violence continues to shatter lives in Israel and the Occupied Territories, Petra, a German war correspondent still reeling from a recent tragedy, visits Anda in her Tel Aviv flat. The two strangers talk into the night over coffee and cognac and discover a surprising and deep bond between them, dating back to World War II.

“The Globe is honored to commemorate a tragedy by joining our sister theatres around the country in this special series of Holocaust Remembrance Day Readings,” said Edelstein. “We believe that the theatre has a unique ability to help us comprehend events and experiences that defy understanding, and with anti-Semitic and other hate crimes on the rise worldwide, such comprehension is needed more than ever. Joshua Sobol is not only one of the world’s great playwrights, but his is one of the world’s most powerful voices of conscience. It is an honor to have his work on our stage, especially as interpreted by our friends, the great Tovah Feldshuh and Natacha Roi. We look forward to sharing Anda’s Love with the community.”

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017 Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, FL presents Dreams of Anne Frank by A. Frank. On On Sunday, April 23, Temple Beth Tzedek in Buffalo, NY presents Dialogs by E. Wiesel.

Hershey Felder whose Hershey Felder As Irving Berlin has been extended to May 7 at Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, California will be performing this entertainingly wonderful one man show. Felder issued a statement which in part reads:

"Today begins Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day and start of the National Jewish Theater Foundation - Holocaust Theater International Initiative-Remembrance Day Play Readings. I dedicate my performance to that event. Although theater has played an extraordinary role from the 1930s to today in Holocaust awareness and education, there has never before been a national program that emphasized the formal use of theater in Holocaust awareness. I am delighted that plays, including a work that I was involved with, The Pianist of Wilesden Lane are now a resource for this growing series of Remembrance Readings and performances done for deserving audiences by so many worthwhile organizations across the U.S."

Sunday, April 23 is also when the Main Street Theater in Houston as well as the Syracuse Jewish Federation in Syracuse, NY offer Dialogs by E. Wiesel. The Windmill Theater Company at New College of Florida in Sarasota, FL will present Nightwords; A Liturgy on the Holocaust by David G. Roskies. That same Sunday the Center for Jewish History in New York City will offer Women and Resistance – Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust.

On Monday, April 24, the Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY offers Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Project in conjunction with the Sixth Act. Good by Philip Taylor will be read. The Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, AL will stage two short Brecht plays - The Informer and The Jewish Wife. They will also present Dialogs by E. Wiesel. Stephens College in Columbia, MO stages Traces in the Wind, a tone poem in honor of three female survivors and artists.

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Study For a Monument by Abbas Akhavan who was born in Tehran in 1977. Bronze and cotton. In these bronze casts of plants native to the Tigris and Euphrates river systems of Mesopotamia (an ancient region roughly coincident with contemporary Iraq), Abbas Akhavan explores the environmental devastation resulting from war. Akhavan has mined the visual and conceptual languages of the monument to produce forms that appear fragmented and out of proportion; some are also charred and oxidized from exposure to air and light. This distortion and degradation suggests that the plants have lost their previous symbolic significance, undergoing a change in status from regal to humble. The artist’s decision to place the casts on the floor atop white sheets introduces references to the display of smuggled artifacts and the presentation of human bodies ravaged by disaster in makeshift funeral displays. Photo Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015
opened yesterday and is on exhibit to June 11, at Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum. One of the largest exhibitions of contemporary art from the region ever to be mounted in China, this is the final presentation of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative.

The first exhibition of its kind in Shanghai, But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art from the Middle East and North Africa gathers work by artists with origins in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates to investigate the dynamic interplay of architecture, geometry, and migration.

The Guggenheim and Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) teams worked together closely on the exhibition and its accompanying public program, both of which support RAM’s mission to augment and engage the international Chinese contemporary art scene.

Participating artists currently include: Lida Abdul, Abbas Akhavan, Kader Attia, Ergin Çavuolu, Ali Cherri, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Rokni Haerizadeh, Susan Hefuna, Iman Issa, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Gülsün Karamustafa, Mohammed Kazem, Hassan Khan, and Ahmed Mater.

Rockbund Art Museum is a contemporary art museum that plays an important role on the global art scene. Since its opening in 2010, RAM, the first museum in China devoted entirely to contemporary art, has achieved great renown for its exhibitions of acclaimed Chinese and international artists. RAM was established as a key component of the Rockbund Urban Renaissance project, which aims to renovate heritage buildings and revitalize the cultural milieu of the north end of the Bund through arts, fashion, business, and leisure programs.


OPERA UP-CLOSE SPRING GALA DINNER takes place Monday, April 24, 2017 at Resident in London, a restaurant on the aptly named Paradise Row: a haven for foodies and connoisseurs of cocktails, fine wines and craft beers, set in a strip of lovingly converted railway arches.

"And naturally there'll be opera. You'll be serenaded between courses and after dinner by some of the talented singers in the organization's next production. In fact, you will be the very first people to hear Glyn Maxwell’s new translation of The Magic Flute when the Queen of the Night wows with some high-octane vocals."

Robin Norton-Hale will also announce the upcoming season.

Part of the ticket price includes a donation towards paying for young people who could not otherwise afford to attend The Magic Flute workshops and performances.


THE OLD VIC'S production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead starring Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire with David Haig as The Player will be broadcast to cinemas on Thursday, April 20 as part of NT Live.

The Old Vic explains to the audience that they should "please bear in mind that, as this is being broadcast live nationally and internationally, there will be several cameras in the auditorium and views of the stage may be blocked at any time during the performance. However, it is a brilliant chance to see this critically acclaimed production and also to see how live theatre broadcasts take place.

"The performance will start at 7pm. Ticket holders should be in their seats by 6.45pm. Latecomers will not be admitted.

"There will be 360 degree filming which will result in audience members being filmed, so we recommend that you wear dark clothing, which will stand out less on camera. By attending you are agreeing to being filmed and appearing in the broadcast."

utilizes the intensity of the art form Butohto convey a serious problem: the environmental repercussions of non-recyclable waste. The tradition and techniques of Butoh are rooted in an art form that has the power to bring us back to our humanity and become closer to the Earth through meditative and hypnotic movement motifs. This includes uncomfortable truths we need to face, such as confronting the "garbage," or grotesque parts of our society. The performers will literally dance through garbage; a set made of collected unsalvageable coffee cups. This initiative intends to increase environmental awareness through dance and have a tangible impact on our ecosystem.

Currently, Americans are responsible for a staggering 58% of the paper cup consumption in the world. The paper cups used at coffee shops in many areas are laminated with a plastic resin, polyethylene, which helps keep beverages warm and prevents leaking but also prevents the cup from being recycled. Once in a landfill, the paper begins to decompose, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas with 23 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide. This issue is directly linked to the threat of global warming.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee originally premiered at Triskelion Arts in 2015. It included a set made of 1500 used, disposable coffee cups, illustrating the extensive amount of non-recyclable waste generated by society. This amplified 2017 version, now featuring New York Butoh star Vangeline backed by a company of nine members from Vangeline Theater, will expand the reach of the work's message with new choreography, performance elements, and panel discussions with environmental scientists such as Paul Bartlett, Environmental Services Consultant and scholar in residence at St. Peter's University. The show hopes to inspire audience members to make a positive lifestyle change.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

At Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, NY April 20-22, 2017.

THE VISIBLE THEATER: THE ARTISTS WHO MAKE THE ONSTAGE MAGIC a new series of panel discussions with Broadway Historian/Producer Harvey Granat and Guests. Up next on April 26 will be The Producers.

Guests are: Todd Haimes, Artistic Director and CEO of Roundabout Theatre. Sue Frost: Memphis, Make Me a Song, and The Music of William Finn. Jeffrey Richards: The Heidi Chronicles, Speed The Plow, Fiddler on The Roof, and Sylvia.

At 92Y in New York City.

DR. ANDREW FARAH Chief of Psychiatry, High Point Division, University of North Carolina Healthcare System, discusses his new book, Hemingway's Brain with Dr. Linda Miller. Thursday, April 20, at the JFK Library and Museum in Boston.

LOVAT MILL IN HAWICK, SCOTLAND weaves over 273,403 yards of tweed each year.

TODAY, APRIL 16 is Day of the Mushroom so take a fungus to lunch. Monday is National Cheeseball Day. Tuesday is National Animal Crackers Day, which has nothing to do with the Marx Brothers movie. Wednesday is National Rice Ball Day. Saturday is National Jelly Bean Day.


2017 JEFFREY FASHION CARES raised more than $800,000 to benefit the work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), the Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Lambda Legal.

The fundraiser brings together generous allies of the LGBT community to raise funds in support of LGBT human rights and HIV/AIDS prevention and research. Together with its sister event in Atlanta - which benefits women and breast cancer - Jeffrey Fashion Cares has raised more than $12 million since it started 14 years ago.

Hosted and organized by Jeffrey Kalinsky, New York event co-chairs were Brenner Thomas, Andrew Mitchell-Namdar, and Phillips Nazro.

MASTERVOICES formerly The Collegiate Chorale raised more than $275,000 at its annual Spring Benefit in support of its artistic programming and education and outreach initiatives at the Metropolitan Club on Thursday, March 30.

Tony winner Kelli O'Hara joined Ted Sperling, MasterVoices Artistic Director, and Jason Danieley to present the entertainment.Guests were also treated to performances by members of MasterVoices' Side-by-Side Education Program led by Heidi Best.

The event honored foundational donors Karen and Kevin Kennedy, Elaine Petschek, and Daisy Soros, as well as some of the artists who starred in early productions, Martina Arroyo, Harolyn Blackwell and Lauren Flanigan.

:The event was led by Benefit Co-Chairs Susan Baker & Michael Lynch, Lois Conway, Matthew D. Hoffman & Donald R. Crawshaw, Ellen F. Marcus, Ellen B. Nenner, Bruce Patrick, Deborah F. Stiles, Adèle K. & John Talty, and Elizabeth Tunick.

LYNN NOTTAGE on winning her second Pulitzer Prize for drama. This time the playwright received the award for Sweat about blue-collar workers devastated by layoffs in a Pennsylvania factory town.

Nottage previously won in 2009 for Ruined.

The Pulitzer jury hailed Sweat as “a nuanced yet powerful drama that reminds audiences of the stacked deck still facing workers searching for the American dream.”

The Pulitzer is awarded to “a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life.”

It includes a $10,000 award.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, by Taylor Mac, and The Wolves, about a girls’ high school soccer team by Sarah DeLappe were named as finalists for the drama prize.

COMPOSER DU YUN who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for Angel's Bone.

The full production of this bold operatic project was co-commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE and was presented in a co-production at Prototype 2016 with Trinity Wall Street at 3LD.

Beth Morrison Projects and HERE declared: "The festival could not be more proud to present work by female composers who are tearing down boundaries and winning prestigious awards.

"Huge congratulations to Du Yun and all her collaborators including librettist Royce Vavrek and director Michael McQuilken!

"Cheers to an incredible accolade and a well-deserved honor, Du Yun!"

MICHAEL CRISTOFER whose Man in the Ring was selected as the $25,000 winner of the 2016 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2016.

The awards were presented April 8 during a ceremony in Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Two citations that carry $7,500 awards were presented to Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlowe and David Rabe’s Visiting Edna, both of which premiered at Steppenwolf in Chicago. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program recognizing regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the United States.

Based on the true story of a boxer who killed a man during a bout, Man in the Ring premiered at the Court Theatre in Chicago.

Since the inception of ATCA’s New Play Award, honorees have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Mac Wellman, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Moises Kaufman and Craig Lucas. Last year’s honoree was Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone.

THE 78TH ANNUAL PEABODY AWARDS will honor Norman Lear and the Independent Television Service as individual and institutional winners of the prestigious award.

Lear will receive the Woody Guthrie Prize, which is awarded annually to an artist who “best exemplifies the spirit and life work of the Oklahoma singer, songwriter and folk music provocateur.” Following previous recipients Pete Seeger, Mavis Staples and Kris Kristofferson, Lear is the first non-musician to be chosen for the prize.

ITVS will be receiving the award for its service in creating documentary films. It was formed by Congress in 1988 and since then has funded more than 1,400 films such as How To Survive A Plague and The Invisible War.

The awards were given for their contributions to storytelling in television. Both will be honored at a gala event on Saturday, May 20 in New York.


ANDY KARL star of the Broadway musical Groundhog Day who suffered a knee injury during the second act while on stage performing in a preview last Friday, April 14, 2017 - three days before the show was set to officially open.

Saturday's matinee performances was canceled and understudy Andrew Call took over the role of weatherman Phil Conners for the evening performance.

No shows were scheduled for Sunday, April 16, and the production was slated to open on Monday, April 17, 2017 at the August Wilson Theater.

In an Instagram post on Saturday morning, Karl explained that he had hurt his knee, visited the ER and would see another doctor. “I’m home now and I have no broken bones but tweaked my knee after a poorly landed leap frog. I’m gonna get it looked at by specialist before I go back on stage."

The role created by Bill Murray is a physically demanding stage part. The show also has a technically complicated set which is a series of five turntables.

What springboards an an unfortunate situation into a crisis event is if Karl misses the opening night, it will jeopardize his chances for a third Tony Award nomination as well as nominations for other theatrical awards. Karl received Tony nominations in 2014 for Rocky and in 2015 for On the Twentieth Century. At of deadline for this column an opening night postponement has not been announced. A decision about opening on schedule was to be made late Sunday.

Karl starred in the London production at the Old Vic and won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

The show must open by April 27 in order to maintain its eligibility for this season’s Tony awards and must open by Thursday, April 20, in order to be eligible for this year's Outer Critics Circle awards.

UPDATE: it has been announced that Groundhog Day will open on schedule on Monday, April 17, 2017, with Andy Karl in the star slot.

Christian Borle as Willy Wonka and the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Photo: Joan Marcus.
featuring music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, book by David Greig.

Directed by Jack O’Brien.

Choreography by Joshua Bergasse.

For more than 50 years, Roald Dahl's story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has captured imaginations around the world, and now for the first time, Broadway audiences are invited to experience Willy Wonka’s delightful and semi-dark chocolate world first-hand. Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous - and mysterious factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s world of pure imagination.

Broadway’s Willy Wonka, Christian Borle leads a cast of 35 that includes John Rubinstein as Grandpa Joe, Emily Padgett as Mrs. Bucket, Kathy Fitzgerald as Mrs. Gloop, F. Michael Haynie as Augustus Gloop, Ben Crawford as Mr. Salt, Emma Pfaeffle as Veruca Salt, Alan H. Green as Mr. Beauregarde, Trista Dollison as Violet Beauregarde, Jackie Hoffman as Mrs. Teavee, Michael Wartella as Mike Teavee and introducing Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust and Ryan Sell making their Broadway debuts as Charlie Bucket, with Yesenia Ayala, Darius Barnes, Colin Bradbury, Jared Bradshaw, Ryan Breslin, Kristy Cates, Madeleine Doherty, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Stephanie Gibson, Talya Groves, Cory Lingner, Elliott Mattox, Monette McKay, Kyle Taylor Parker, Paul Slade Smith, Katie Webber, Stephen Carrasco, Robin Masella, Kristin Piro, Amy Quanbeck, Michael Williams, and Mikey Winslow.

Scenic and costume design by Mark Thompson, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Andrew Keister, puppet and illusion design by Basil Twist, projection design by Jeff Sugg, special effects design by Jeremy Chernick, orchestrations by Doug Besterman and music direction and supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck.

Opening Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City.

HAPPY DAYS by Samuel Beckett.

Directed by Yale Repertory Theatre Artistic Director James Bundy.

Starring two-time Oscar-winner Dianne Wiest as Winnie, one of modern drama's pinnacle female roles, alongside Jarlath Conroy as Willie.

Buried up to her waist and sinking into the earth, Winnie is an endlessly fascinating spirit of buoyant resourcefulness and unassuming grace in the face of inevitable oblivion. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, compassionate and ferocious.

The production features scenic design by Izmir Ickbal, costumes by Alexae Visel, lighting by Stephen Strawbridge, sound design by Kate Marvin, vocal coaching by Walton Wilson, movement coaching by Jessica Wolf, dramaturgy by Catherine Sheehy and Nahuel Telleria, casting by Tara Rubin Casting, and stage management by Kelly Montgomery.

The Yale Repertory Theatre production, presented by Theatre for a New Audience with performances at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Brooklyn, April 23 - May 28, 2017.

After the 7:30pm performance on Sunday, April 30, TFANA will host one of its popular Post-Show Parties. Every ticket purchased for that evening includes a drink ticket for use at the party.

THE BODYGUARD based on the Warner Bros. film written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, with a book by Oscar-winner Alexander Dinelaris.

Featuring hits including Run to You, I Have Nothing, Greatest Love Of All, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and one of the greatest songs of all time - I Will Always Love You.

Starring Australia's own Paulini as Rachel Marron and Prinnie Stevens as Nicki Marron.

Opening April 21 at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in Sydney, Australia.

ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID'S CITY by playwright and former Artistic Director Michael Gow.

Directed by Artistic Director Sam Strong who is making his Queensland Theatre directorial debut

Who are we, what are we doing here, and why is it so? Faced with the loss of a parent, do we rage against the universe, search for connection or hope for an epiphany?

On the beaches of northern New South Wales, theatre director Will has planned to share a restful, halcyon Christmas with his recently-widowed mother. But then she falls ill. During a bedside vigil, Will is forced to piece together the splintered shards of his own life, questioning his role as an artist, as a son, as a citizen of the world.

At once intimate and sweeping, balancing warmth with wrath, Once In Royal David’s City is billed as "a life-affirming story about family, loss, purpose, politics, and the endless possibilities of art."

April 22-May 14, 2017 at Queensland Theatre in Brisbane, Australia.


NEIL DIAMOND performs Wednesday, April 19, at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. Friday finds him at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY. Next Sunday, April 23, he'll be singing his hits at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.

AN EVENING WITH GEORGE WINSTON has the famed pianist performing Sunday, April 23, 2017 at The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York.

STEVE MARTIN, MARTIN SHORT and the Stone Canyon Band entertain in North Carolina this week. On Thursday, April 20, they a begins a two night stand at the Performing Arts Center in Durham. On Saturday they can be enjoyed at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte.

LADY GAGA brings her tour to the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN on Monday, August 21. Wednesday's show is at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. On Friday she'll be singing her hits at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

RICKY GERVAIS brings his stand up to Harpa Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

ED SHEERAN performs Monday, April 17 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. On Wednesday he opens a two nighter at Metro Radio in Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK. On Saturday he begins a two night stand at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.


TOM COYNE musical recording mastering engineer died April 12, 2017 from multiple myeloma.. He was 62.

A prolific trusted engineer since the '70s, Coyne was known for mastering such chart makers as Beyoncé, Kool & The Gang, Metallica, A Tribe Called Quest, R. Kelly, Digable Planets, the Roots, Wu-Tang Clan, Buddy Guy, Britney Spears, Erykah Badu, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Keith Urban.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Tom Coyne was a universally respected mastering engineer and was considered one of the most influential and trusted ears in music. His expertise brought an important finishing touch to the works of many icons such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, the Weeknd, and many others throughout his career. His mastering contributions earned him a total of 18 Grammy Award nominations, six Grammy Awards - including back to back Album Of The Year wins for Taylor Swift's 1989 and Adele's 25 - and a Latin Grammy Award for Marc Anthony’s Record Of The Year-winning Vivir Mi Vida. Our creative community has lost one of its giants. He will be greatly missed."

BILL OCHS 1946-2016 will be honored by the Irish Arts Center in New York City with a memorial celebration on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at 1:30 at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City.

"Irish Arts Center misses dear friend and educator Bill Ochs, who taught with us for more than four decades. A scholarship has been established in his honor for students of Irish Arts Center’s music education programs."

LINDA HOPKINS a Tony Award winner whose soaring, gospel-blues voice which could contain a lot of sass, died on Monday, April 10, 2017 in Milwaukee. She was 92.

For her role in Inner City a musical based on a book of urban Mother Goose tales by Eve Merriam, she received the 1972 Tony Award for best performance by a featured actress in a musical.

During the 1970s, Hopkins performed fir nine months in the Broadway musical, Purlie, and with Sammy Davis, Jr.

With Will Holt, she conceived and wrote Me and Bessie, a tribute to the great blues singer Bessie Smith, whose songs she had been performing for years. With spare accompaniment, she held the stage for an entire evening, performing more than 20 of Smith’s songs and summoning the events of her life.

The show, which opened at the Ambassador Theater in October 1975, ran for 453 performances. It was the longest-running one-woman show in Broadway history up to that time.

Hopkins returned to Broadway in 1989 in Black and Blue, joining with the blues singers Ruth Brown and Carrie Smith to evoke the glory years of the Harlem nightspot the Cotton Club in the 1920s and ’30s. The production ran for 829 performances. She was nominated for a Tony for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical, but she lost to Ms. Brown, her co-star.

Wild Women Blues, conceived by Hopkins and produced by Mel Howard and created by Hopkins and William Lipscomb, premiered in Berlin in 1997. In 1998 Hopkins celebrated 50 years in show business.

She performed at President Jimmy Carter's 1977 inaugural ball.

In 2005 she was was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

She often appeared at Sweetwater’s in Manhattan, until a stroke sidelined her at 82.

TOBY SMITH was a musician, most famous for being the original keyboardist and co-songwriter for British funk band Jamiroquai from 1992 until his departure in 2002 died April 12, 2017. He was 46.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Toby Smith was a multitalented jazz-funk keyboardist, songwriter and producer who co-founded Jamiroquai in 1992. The band's breakthrough album, Travelling Without Moving, was nominated for the Best Pop Album Grammy Award for 1997. That same year, the group's single Virtual Insanity, which Toby co-wrote, won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Toby's family, friends, and colleagues."

Next Column: April 23, 2017
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Laura Deni

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