Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: April 23, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Jess Solomon
Canadian comedian Jess Salomon who bills herself as a "comedian, writer and family disappointment" has one of the most unusual promotional releases Broadway To Vegas has seen: "Jess Salomon is a Canadian comedian who moved to America just before the last election by marrying a Muslim-Canadian-Female-Comedian who wasn’t even really gay before. She considers this to be her greatest achievement. Now that she has a Green Card, Jess is bringing her very personal brand of political humor to America's finest cities and artistic spaces.

"Come see Jess before she gets too famous to play small spaces for cheap OR gets deported with her Muslim wife!"

Salomon is a former UN war crimes lawyer turned stand-up comic. According to her website, "When she’s not writing and performing Jess likes to check in with her old colleagues in The Hague. She enjoys hearing how sad the war criminals are without her observational wit and storytelling to keep them going. She believes they are jealous of her comedy audience and regret what they have done."

What caught our fancy was that she was a lawyer turned stand-up comedian. While there are many who view lawyers as a joke, most attorneys prefer to revel in power and their bank accounts rather than relishing applause occasionally payment in forms other than legal tender.

Broadway To Vegas could discover several stand-up comedians who traded being medical cut ups to cutting up in comedy clubs - examples:

Real life doctor Dr. Kendrick Kang-Joh "Ken" Jeong turned stand-up comic, stars on the ABC sitcom Dr. Ken.
Dr. Kendrick Kang-Joh "Ken" Jeong who graduated from Duke University in 1990 and obtained his M.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine in 1995 traded the examining room for a comedy club stage and now stars on his own ABC sitcom Dr. Ken playing - a doctor. Jeong completed his internal medicine residency at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans while developing his stand-up comedy. A licensed physician in California where he practiced medicine for several years at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Woodland Hills.

Monty Python Graham Chapman went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge to study Medicine in 1959. Chapman graduated in 1962 and went on to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School. In 1966, he graduated from St. Bartholomew’s, and then he began practicing medicine.

British comedians Adam Kay of Amateur Transplants fame recently signed a publishing deal for a book about his life as a junior doctor. Doctor-turned-joker Harry Hill, whose act has never had anything to do with medicine, once remarked, that there was such a thing as “a doctor’s gallows humor. [And] my humor is the opposite of all that – a reaction to it.”

Riaad Moosa is a doctor turned stand-up who is a Muslim and Indian from South Africa, which he has said gives him a lot of comedy material.

British Comedian Harry Hill received his medical training at St George's Hospital Medical School before training in neurosurgery at the University of London. Hill worked as a house officer at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, delivering babies, resuscitating emergency cases and dealing with the mentally ill. Although he remains on the General Medical Council's list of Registered Medical Practitioners he told Sunday Mercury that he quit the medical profession because he "didn't feel in control of what was happening".

Last year Australian general practitioner Dr Ahmed Kazmi went from the medical consulting room to the comedy stage and brought his one-man comedy show to both Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. Kazmi who did his training in the National health Service and still practices medicine, stages many of his comedy Doctor in the House shows as benefits for such causes as Cancer Research UK.

There are numerous lawyers who have become bestselling authors and comedy writers including Emmy winner and Daily Show writer Paul Mecurio. However, there is a different between writing what others read or say and earning a living standing in front of a microphone in a comedy club.

However, there are a few legal mouthpieces who took their vocabulary to the comedy stages.

Alex Barnett chronicled his transition from Ivy League-educated law firm partner to struggling comedian for the New York Daily News in a series of columns.

Al Lubel became a lawyer to make his mother happy. She was - he wasn't. He practiced law and stand-up comedy simultaneously in Los Angeles. He decided to abandon law when he discovered that "in the courtroom the juries would laugh.” A year later he won the $100,000 grand prize for his comedy routine on Star Search.

Now comes Jess Salomon, who is married to comedian Eman El-Husseini. Both women have had extensive write-ups in serious Canadian journals; Solomon in McGill's Faculty of Law / Nouvelles de la Faculté de droit de McGill and Canadian Lawyer Magazine while El-Husseini was interviewed for Islamic History Month by the Canadian Museum.

Broadway To Vegas tracked down Solomon.

"I was a lawyer in The Hague at the UN Tribunal that was set up for the former Yugoslavia. Several years ago now. I attended law school at McGill University in Montreal," Salomon told Broadway To Vegas. "I left law to pursue comedy because while I liked the international environment I was working in I didn’t love working with law. I wanted to do something more creative and making people laugh has always been my favorite thing (in) life."

With light red hair, blue eyes and freckles most Americans might assume that Solomon is Irish. She isn't and her background is fascinating.

Solomon is one-quarter Sephardic. Her father was born in Quebec while her Peruvian-born mother’s parents were from Egypt and Poland, an unusual background for growing up in Montreal as a Jewish, half Peruvian, half Egyptian, Anglophone who grew up in a household speaking both Spanish and English. She learned French in school.

Many would feel that she grew up privileged, growing up in the wealthy Montreal suburb of Westmount. Her father was in real estate. Her stay-at-home mother was active in charities and school events.

She was sent to exclusive private girls schools, first The Study Academy then Miss Edgar’s & Miss Cramp’s School. Solomon completed her BA in international relations at Tufts near Boston where she heard McGill University law professor Irwin Cotler speak. Cotler is the famous human rights lawyer who advocated on behalf of political prisoners.

Solomon was so impressed she decided to do an internship at McGill’s law firm in 1998. That convinced her to go to law school and pursue human rights advancement. she graduated in 2001.

Comedy wasn't on her agenda.

She interned at The Hague, working for Judge Fausto Pocar, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, for four months. Then, after a stint at the federal Department of Justice, returned to work full time under Pocar.

The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a body of the United Nations established to prosecute serious crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars, and to try their perpetrators. The tribunal is an ad hoc court which is located in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Court was established by Resolution 827 of the United Nations Security Council, which was passed on May 25, 1993. It has jurisdiction over four clusters of crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991: grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war, genocide, and crimes against humanity. The maximum sentence it can impose is life imprisonment. Various countries have signed agreements with the UN to carry out custodial sentences.

Solomon's work wasn't going to the mass graves, interviewing victims and witnesses, and sorting through physical evidence. That's what investigators that work for the prosecution do. Solomon and her colleagues worked directly for the judge, writing the judgments. Solomon was also in the appeals section where attorneys concentrate on the issues of law rather than the facts, which have already been determined.

Solomon helped draft orders and judgments against the 161 former Yugoslavians indicted for war crimes, including ex-president Slobodan Milosevic, who died in custody in 2006 while she was there.

The stress level accelerated as the United Nations Security Council pressured the proceedings to wrap up.

Any laughs were black humor. To ease the stress Solomon began writing comedy.

Her first attempt at stand-up was at an Amsterdam comedy club. It was a disaster. She was blinded by the spotlight, froze and started to sweat.

Being an attorney at The Hague is a plumb gig. Lawyers make good money, you don't pay taxes when you work for the UN and they pay you out when you leave.

Solomon gave all that up, returning to Montreal in April 2008, taking a class with Montreal comic and Just for Laughs veteran Joey Elias . Open-mike nights followed. From a fancy salary to occasions when she was paid in beer. Regardless, Solomon was hooked on laughs.

Her material has no boundaries and has been called "smart and dirty." She's admitted that she likes dirty jokes as do the vast majority of comedy club patrons.

Comedy has also been a learning experience. For instance, comedy club audiences are a tougher crowd than criminals.

As Solomon told Canadian Lawyer, “Even war criminals aren’t going to yell ‘Show us your tits,’ in court.”

"Do you find it harder for a female comedian to keep an audience's attention or get bookings?" Broadway To Vegas inquired.

"Bookings can be tougher I think. The idea that you’re even asking this question is part of the problem because you wouldn’t ask it of a straight white male comedian. Everything that’s not a straight while male perspective is considered niche because it’s not the default. So when I talk about my relationship for example it’s “gay comedy”. It’s changing, but it can still happen that I can feel an audience’s disappointment to see a woman come to the stage and in those case I (women in general) have to work harder to get the audience on board. I don’t think it’s harder to keep their attention though. I think in many cases once they’re on board audiences it’s the opposite because audiences ultimately don’t want to hear the same jokes/perspective over and over. At least most of them don’t."

"Are you still active in current events?" Broadway To Vegas wanted to know.

"I’m not sure what this means … I follow the news," was her answer.

Eman El-Husseini
Solomon's wife Eman El-Husseini was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents and raised in Canada. She has been called "an advocate of freedom of expression and makes jokes about anything and everything, including politics, religion, family and relationships."

In the Canadian Museum article El-Husseini opined: "The depiction of Arabs in the media is limited to terrorism or cab drivers. And although we have these things, we also have a lot of other things . . . There is more to us. Stereotypes are rarely flattering. . . there needs to be more Arabs in the media and the therapeutic value of comedy. . . .Some people in America confuse East Indians and Arabs or Sikhs and Muslims. That’s how I know we need more exposure. We should be able to represent ourselves, to tell our own story."

Their 'own story' includes a marriage which wasn't easy for their parents to accept. Neither of their parents attended their wedding. "It's a really hard concept for them to accept homosexuality. It's so foreign to them," El-Husseini told the CBC.

While Salomon maintains her membership in the Law Society of Upper Canada, she knows there is no going back. She has quipped:" I have burned every bridge. Comedy has to work out for me. There is no going back – I would not be taken back anywhere."

Both Solomon and El-Hussenin travel, performing together and separately.

Broadway To Vegas asked Solomon: "Have you been visited by ICE or had any problems traveling?

"We haven’t been visited by ICE because we have green cards but crossing the border always takes some extra time."

Solomon will be on stage April 27 at Uptown Arts Bar in Kansas City. On May 3 she can be found the Gotham Comedy Club, in New York City.

El-Hussenin performs April 26-29 Halifax Comedy Festival.

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(Detail) Gun 1, Amsterdam Avenue New York, 1954. Copyright: William Klein
Uncompromising, willing to take risks and beyond the usual conventions—the photographer and filmmaker William Klein has remained true to his unmistakable methods for more than 60 years. From the day the American arrived in Paris in 1948, he sought to experiment and tested out a variety of artistic genres—painting, photography and film—always filled with great curiosity and vitality.

He photographed people and fashion in the streets, dealt with current social issues and observed early on the influence of mass media and its impact on a consumer-oriented society. His style is direct, uses strong contrasts and blurred contours, and thus stands in direct contradiction to the technically perfect, aesthetically driven photography of the 1950s.

At the same time, the “anti-photographer” developed a sense of the scope of influence that his artistic work allowed him. Both in his street photography as well as in his later films, Klein espoused the rights of African Americans and portrayed personalities such as Muhammad Ali, Little Richard and Eldridge Cleaver.

William Klein’s most famous and at the same time most influential work is the photo book entitled New York 1954–1955, for which he returned to his hometown in the mid-1950s. He wanted to radically re-capture the city—subjectively, intuitively and using unexpected perspectives. In the end, he portrayed the booming metropolis, the city of Coca Cola, of big cars and flashing bill-boards, as a dark, harsh and oppressive place.

After many years, C/O Berlin is dedicating a comprehensive retrospective as the sole location in Germany to the 88-year-old artist for the first time. The focus is on more than just the views of the cities of New York, Moscow, Rome or Tokyo but rather also on William Klein as a transformer between the mediums of photography and film. The exhibition comprises around 300 exhibits–large tableaux, vintage prints, contact sheets, books, magazines and movies. It correlates his photographic and film works that have been created in the past 60 years. With his unique style, Klein has long been a role model and a source of inspiration for many young photographers and filmmakers.

Opening on Friday, April 28, 2017 through July 2, 2017 by C/O Berlin at the Amerika Haus in Berlin, Germany. C/O Berlin is a charitable foundation that has presented, since 2000, a cultural program with an international standing.

Each year C/O Berlin shows as many as twenty solo and group exhibitions of internationally distinguished photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Martin Parr, Nan Goldin, Anton Corbijn, Peter Lindbergh, Sebastião Salgado, and Stephen Shore.

GUDRUN SJODEN: FOUR DECADES OF COLOR & DESIGN display celebrates over 40 years of colorful design and unique expression by the Swedish designer and textile artist.

Founded in 1976 by Gudrun and Björn Sjödén, the company’s distinctive printed clothes have taken Swedish color and style to the world.

The exhibition opens April 25 and is on display through May 7, 2017 at the Fashion and Textile Musuem in London.

On April 25 Swedish designer Gudrun Sjödén talks with Polly Leonard, the founder of Selvedge Magazine to discuss their shared love of textiles and the design ethos that has enabled her business to survive and grow internationally for more than 40 years.


ACT 50TH ANNIVERSARY GALA of the ACT in San Francisco takes place Thursday, April 27 at ACT's Strand Thearter.

The Gala will feature Annette Bening, Judy Kaye, BD Wong, Casey Lee Hurt, among many others.

Individual tickets $1,500-$5,000. Tables $15,000-$50,000.

THE NEW YORK POPS 34th BIRTHDAY GALA takes place Monday, May 1, 2017 with a Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall followed by a Dinner Dance at the Mandarin Oriental New York.

The New York Pops and music director Steven Reineke will honor Tony award winners Kelli O'Hara and Bartlett Sher, whose collaborations over the last decade have won universal acclaim and whose individual careers represent pinnacles of achievement in the world of theatre.

Adam Guettel, John Lithgow, Matthew Morrison, Nico Muhly, Anna Netrebko, and Ken Watanabe will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs for the event.

DEMENTIA AWARE FEST 2017 takes place April 29-30, 2017 at The Roadhouse in Birmingham, England.

This is the 4th Dementia Aware fest and 2017 will consist of a full weekend of fantastic live bands all giving up their time to raise money directly for Dementia UK. They hope to beat last year’s total raised as well as promoting awareness about this charity and dementia.

The Line Up includes: White Tyger, Rob Wylde (from Tigertailz & Teenage Casket Company), Shyyne, The Senton Bombs, Sister Shotgun, Mason Hill, Mallen, Tear It Down, Iconic Eye, Last Great Dreamers, Liberty Lies, Hell’s Addiction, New Generation Superstars, The Black Hounds, Devil Red, The Mighty Wraith, Spreading the Disease, Crows & Crosses, Left for Red, Electus, Resin, and Craig Pate.

MARLEE MATLIN an Academy Award-winning actress, activist and author tlin is the honorary chairwoman of the American School for the Deaf's Bicentennial Celebration and was the featured speaker at the event's gala last Friday, April 21, at the Connecticut Convention Center.

Among Matlin's numerous charity contributions include her raising a million dollars for hearing aids for children by being a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.

American School for the Deaf is the home of American Sign Language. Two hundred years ago, they developed it into a universal language.


Original Motion Picture Soundtrack with original music composed by Deborah Lurie and arranged by Ben Wexler, has been released by Broadway Records.

Based on Tony Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee Stephen Karam's off-Broadway 2007 play, Speech & Debate centers on three misfit teenagers Howie, Diwata, and Solomon, each with their own personal motives, who come together to revive their school's defunct Speech & Debate Club. After Howie's request for a gay-straight alliance is rejected by the local school board and Diwata is disappointed in not landing the lead role in the school play, Solomon, whose articles keep getting rejected by the school newspaper, convinces them both to join him in competing in the statewide debate tournament. Howie and Diwata join and the three form an unlikely bond.

After a lackluster performance in the tournament and a wild night of soul-searching and confronting their differences, the trio learns that the school has denied their club funding. Having now found their voice, Howie, Diwata, and Solomon band together to prove to the school board that everyone has a voice and is worthy of being heard. The soundtrack album features all the original songs and musical moments from the film along with the original end title song Losers are Winners, penned by Karam, performed by Kristin Chenoweth and a brand new song from Austin P. McKenzie recorded exclusively for the album - bonus track Know Me Better.

The cast includes: Liam James (Solomon) - Sarah Steele (Diwata) - Austin P. McKenzie (Howie as Austin McKenzie) - Roger Bart (Principal Bellingham) - Janeane Garofalo (Marie) - Wendi McLendon-Covey (Joan) - Kal Penn (James) - Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Susan) - Skylar Astin (Walter Healy).

This positive and uplifting original musical is geared to the tween and teen set and spotlights understanding and acceptance. The score is beat driven with many numbers featuring non complicated, pleasant arrangements where the piano and drum stands out.

There is outrage - a production of The Crucible (frequently performed in high schools) has been declared disgusting and (horror!) Once Upon a Mattress is on the high school's performance schedule. Officials are furious.

What are the students going to do about it? Exercise free speech - that's what - strongly declared in the Opening Rant delivered by Jeremy Rowley.

Sarah Steele reprising the role she originated almost ten years ago at Roundabout Underground, announces that she's not knuckling under and will be performing all songs as written. Track 3, Diwata's Audition is forceful and determined.

Steele is also featured in 5 of the 12 main numbers.

Track 6 King performed by Years & Years has a different musical backing - additional and different instruments with more complex arrangements. It's dance music energetic.

Track 8 More Weight performed by Steele is softer with what sounds like electronic musical backing. There are musical sections, such as Hold It In which include spoken dialogue. That number is about repressed homosexual feelings and, yes, sections of that song will remind you of The Book of Mormon.

Many of the numbers reflect mega-hit Broadway musicals. That's intentional and works well.

Track 11 Solomon's Speech by Liam James is pointed and powerful. That leads into George Michael's chorus backed, calypso beat, invigorating anthem Freedom 90.

Responsible parents don't need to fret if they think their offspring are listening to this CD. In fact, buy it for them.

Sycamore Pictures will donate 10% of all soundtrack sales to the Kristin Chenoweth Arts & Education Foundation, which offers entertainment and artistic enrichment to the community in her home town of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Sound Department for the film included: Steve Arcabascio boom operator - Brandon Bak foley assistant - Yann Delpuech sound designer John-Thomas Graves re-recording mixer / supervising sound editor - Kevin S. Parker sound mixer - John Sievert foley artist.

Music Department included: Matt Fausak music editor Kevin McKeever music mixer Scott Michael Smith score recorded by

No musician credits are provided.

On Friday, in basically a no notice, immediate need request, arranger Ben Wexler was e-mailed inquiring about the arrangements and musicians. As of deadline he hadn't responded.

The CD was mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering. The CD booklet cover is by Eclipse. The colorful booklet contains numerous production photographs by Haley Ryan Ringe.


Jennifer Ehle and Jefferson Mays in Oslo. Photo by T. Charles Erickson/Lincoln Center.
In the world of diplomatic negotiations there is no yelling, cursing or hysterics for public consumption. When on Onctober 12, 1960, Khrushchev took off his shoe and brandished it during the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York in protest at a speech by Philippine delegate Lorenzo Sumulong, a front page international incident erupted. Generally, diplomats are controlled, fearing that any show of emotion would be perceived as either weakness or combative.

It's a high stakes poker game.

J. T. Rogers' play Oslo, currently at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York City, brings to the front burner the emotional underpinnings of a real life situation - the negotiations leading to the Oslo Accords.

If you think you've had all you can take with current political histrionics, this play is different.

Unlike some playwrights who jump on headlines hoping to cash in on current events and engage in speculation to get their script written, Rogers did exhaustive research interviewing the real life couple Terje Rod-Larsen then director of the Fafo Institute for Applied Social Sciences - portrayed by Tony winner Jefferson Mays and Mona Juul, an official in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry brought to life by two time Tony winner Jennifer Ehle.

Mays and Ehle are outstanding, as are all facets of this volatile production.

The players include:

Hassan Asfour played by Dariush Kashani - P.L.O. finance minister Ahmed Qurie played by Anthony Azizi - T. Ryder Smith is cast as the Norwegian foreign minister Johan Jorgen Holst - Daniel Oreskes as Yair Hirschfeld and Shimon Peres - Michael Aronov as self absorbed Uri Savir a Foreign Ministry director who one suspects glanced at himself every time he passes a mirror - Adam Dannheisser as Yossi Aronov - Daniel Jenkins as Jan Egeland and Ron Pundak - Dariush Kashani as Hassan Asfour - Jeb Kreager as Trond Gundersen/ German Husband - Christopher McHale as American Diplomat, Thor Bjornevog - Joseph Siravo as Joel Singer - Angels Piece as a German wife and Henny Russell as Marianne Heiberg and Toril Grandal Swedish hostess.

Anthony Azizi, Dariush Kashani, Michael Aronov, Joseph Siravo, Jennifer Ehle (background). Photo Lincoln Center
To fully appreciate the play it helps to familiarize yourself with the Oslo Accord.

In 1993 an attempt was made to resolve the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It was the first face-to-face agreement between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Negotiations concerning the agreement, an outgrowth of the Madrid Conference of 1991, were conducted secretly in Oslo, Norway, hosted by the Fafo institute, and completed on August 20,1993; the Oslo Accords were subsequently officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington, D.C., on September 13, 1993, in the presence of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and U.S. President Bill Clinton.

For this accomplishment PLO leader Yassir Arafat, Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres received the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Oslo Accord which covered a vast range of issues didn't last, but at least there was an attempt at peace - knocked out on paper with emotional intensity that is the heart of this play. There isn't polite-for-the-camera diplomacy. It's high voltage international peacemaking expressed in vulgarity, anger and rage.

In explaining how the Norwegian got involved in brokering a mid east deal The Christian Science Monitor in 2000 reported:

"It began with contacts that Terje Roed-Larsen, a Norwegian academic following his diplomat wife to her posting in Cairo, made with Palestinians and Israeli officials as he planned a study of living conditions in Gaza for FAFO, his labor union-funded think tank in Oslo.

"Those contacts led to secret talks in Norway over the course of a year that gradually involved ever more senior officials, until the world was stunned to learn that the PLO and Israel had made peace even though public negotiations in Washington had got nowhere.

"'The risk profile is lower if you start with contacts at the nongovernmental level, and slowly progress to the official level," says Mona Juul, who with her husband Mr. Rod-Larsen coaxed the Palestinians and Israelis to an agreement. "And the fact that FAFO was involved meant that if anything leaked, we could say the meetings were purely an academic seminar.'"

In real life, winds of diplomacy don't just blow both ways - they swirl.

Less than two years after the accord was signed, in March 1995, the press reported that Sharon considered declaring Larsen persona non grata and expelling him from the country after Larsen told the Jerusalem Post, "Arafat and I talk about everything, not just politics and economics. We discuss life, food and love."

In 2000 The New York Sun reported that Terje Roed-Larsen, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East, was caught up in a scandal involving money he took from the Peres Center for Peace (which was founded by Shimon Peres), where he sits on the board of governors, and money that Norway in turn gave to the Center. The Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon discovered that Larsen and his wife, Mona Juul, received in 1999 a $100,000 "prize" from the Peres Center. The couple split the money 50-50. Juul at the time was Norway's ambassador to Israel. Neither he nor his wife reported the gift to the Norwegian government, leading to a swift decision announced by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry to reprimand Ms. Juul.

Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat receiving the Nobel Peace Prize following the Oslo Accords
Peres defended Larsen, who, Israel's press had been suggesting, may have played a role in gaining the inclusion of Peres in the Nobel Prize that was given to Prime Minister Rabin and Arafat.

In 2001, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who had been at the heart of the Oslo process, commissioned Hilde Henriksen Waage to produce an official, comprehensive history of the Norwegian-mediated back channel negotiations. She was given privileged access to all relevant, classified files in the ministry's archives.

According to Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 1 (Autumn 2008) Waage was surprised to discover "not a single scrap of paper for the entire period from January to September 1993 - precisely the period of the back channel talks." Involved persons kept documents privately and refused to hand them over. Waage concluded that "there seems no doubt that the missing documents ... would have shown the extent to which the Oslo process was conducted on Israel’s premises, with Norway acting as Israel’s helpful errand boy."

"Norway played a mediating role as a small state between vastly unequal parties and had to play by the rules of the stronger party, acting on its premises. Israel’s red lines were the ones that counted, and if the Palestinians wanted a deal, they would have to accept them, too.... The missing documents would almost certainly show why the Oslo process probably never could have resulted in a sustainable peace. To a great extent, full documentation of the back channel would explain the disaster that followed Oslo."

Time passes and circumstances change. On December 9, 2014 Queen Elizabeth II received The Ambassador of Norway to Great Britain, Mona Juul and Terje Rod-Larsen as Juul presented her Letter of Credence at Buckingham Palace.

Oslo concerns the peace talks. The play opens with a dinner where gossip concerning personalities is backstabbing and spicy.

The meetings were serious, intense and stark as is conveyed in Donald Holder's lighting, Michael Yeargan’s sets, projections by 59 Productions, costumes by Catherine Zuber and sound by Peter John Still.

The world leaders are flawed with egos and underlying issues - those warts come across. Food to soothe a savage beast has never been more apparent than in waffles served by Henny Russell as the chateau cook.

With liquor being the nutrient of choice, don't ever think alcohol isn't a major player in the real arena of world negotiations. Champagne, wine and whiskey makers aren't given diplomatic warrants to tout their wares; but without the libations, little would move forward.

The layered, intense drama overflows with hyperactive energy. Calm diplomat Ehle reaches explosive levels. The players don't necessarily like or respect each other, even to the point of insulting jokes; but to accomplish the peace process they have to communicate. Sometimes that can resemble crawling through verbal razor wire.

Diplomats are showmen as much as they are intellects.

The writing, directing and acting brings each personality into focus.

Don't miss the production which is mounted only through June 18, 2017.

NOTE the role of Joel Singer is currently being played by Jeff Still.


Beth Henley
Last Saturday, April 22, the William Inge Theater Festival held in his hometown of Independence, Kansas concluded with the Gala Awards Dinner celebrating Beth Henley. The event included live musical entertainment and presentation of the Margaret Goheen Award.

Bright Desire: A Tribute to Tony and Oscar nominated Beth Henley, a 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Crimes of the Heart, was a multi-media presentation, featuring video interviews with Henley and her original collaborators, and live scenes from her greatest works, performed by guest artists from Broadway to Hollywood, created by Susan Cinoman, Lonny Quattlebaum and Karen Carpenter who has joined the William Inge Center for the Arts as the new Artistic Director.

If Carpenter's name rings a bell perhaps it's because she is best known for directing the smash hit Love Loss and What I Wore, by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, produced by Daryl Roth; her production was met with unanimous critical acclaim, broke all existing off-­Broadway box office records, won the Drama Desk Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience, and ran a record 1013 performances in New York, featuring rotating celebrity casts.

Carpenter has directed over 150 of our most celebrated comediennes in the show to date: Rosie O’Donnell, Jane Lynch, Marlo Thomas, Fran Drescher, Rhea Perlman, Tyne Daly, Natasha Lyonne, Kate Mulgrew, Janeane Garofolo, and Caroline Rhea, among them. Additional companies have played Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Norway, Germany, and the Philippines; the show is now enjoyed world-wide. A new tour is playing the U.S. this year.

Earlier in the week in a Conversation with Henley the famed playwright sat down for a one-on-one candid public interview with conference chair Dr. Jackson Bryer. The conversation was taped for the Inge Collection at ICC Library, streamed live on Howlround.

Scholars’ Conference Hosted by Dr. Bryer featured seven Scholars, who are experts on Henley and Inge works, presenting papers on their writings.

During the Festival 36 new plays were given their first reading for Festival audiences and Master writer panels. A concert reading of a new play Ada and the Engine, by the Festival's Otis Guernsey New Voices Award Winner Lauren M. Gunderson, directed by David Karl Lee, was followed by an award ceremony.

Gunderson is the most produced living playwright in America of the 2016/17 season.

She is the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Company.

She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School, where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.


MEMO TO THE BRILLIANT CHARLIE ROSE the country - no matter the direction - is pronounced KoreAH not KoreER.

MEMO TO THE TALENTED JIMMY FALLON open up your mouth and speak distinctly. Too much of the time too many of your words sound garbled.


has been named as host for the Tony Awards which take place June 11, 2017 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

On his Twitter account he posted: "fingers crossed all the envelopes are in order."

Recently appearing on The Tonight Show, Spacey told Jimmy Fallon that he was bringing his hit one man show Clarence Darrow to American, transforming the Queens, New York Arthur Ashe Stadium - think tennis courts - into a theater in the round for shows on June 15 and 16th. If there is a demand the production could be extended.

Spacey selected Clarence Darrow as his last act after 10 years of being the artistic director of the Old Vic in London. In London he's known as Sir Kevin Spacey having been knighted by Prince Charles for his contribution to theatre.

In explaining bring Clarence Darrow to a tennis court he told Fallon's audience that while attending a tennis tournament at Ashe Stadium he looked around, realizing that the tennis stadium was the equivalent of a theater in the round - patrons get a good look at what is happening on center court no matter on which side thee are seated. A performance light bulb went off in the actor's head.

The venue is the main stadium of the US Open. It's the largest by capacity tennis-specific stadium in the world with room for 23,771. Spacey intends to keep ticket prices affordable.

MASTERVOICES closes its 75th anniversary season with Babes in Toyland. Music by Victor Herbert and libretto by Glen MacDonough.

The production will be conducted and directed by MasterVoices' Artistic Director Ted Sperling and will feature Kelli O'Hara, Bill Irwin, Christopher Fitzgerald, Lauren Worsham, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Jonathan Freeman, Chris Sullivan, Jeffrey Schecter, Michael Kostroff, and Blair Brown with the 130 singers of MasterVoices and Orchestra of St. Luke's.

Musical Staging by Andrew Palermo.

April 27, 2017 at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, New York City.

A huge hit when it premiered in New York in 1903, Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland hasn't seen a major revival in New York City in over 85 years. Full of glorious melodies, Babes in Toyland tells a story that is both amusing and scary: villainous Uncle Barnaby plots the deaths of his young niece and nephew, Alan and Jane, in order to gain their inheritance. After many twists and turns, the siblings, with the help of several Mother Goose characters, thwart his efforts and bring happiness back to Toyland.

MasterVoices will present the original score in its full orchestration, including beloved songs Toyland, March of the Toys, and I Can't Do the Sum, giving the audience a rare chance to experience this musical extravaganza.

13TH ANNUAL THEATER HALL OF FAME FELLOWSHIP LUNCHEON saluting Glenn Close takes place Friday, April 28, 2017 at The Palm in New York City.

The event is by Invitation Only.

SHERRY LANCING the trailblazing movie executive and philanthropist Sherry Lansing visits 92Y in New York City on Friday, April 28 to discuss her storied career in the movie business. She's joined by The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Galloway and Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas as moderator.

Douglas starred in the blockbuster film Fatal Attraction, which Lansing produced; Galloway is the author of the new Lansing biography, Leading Lady (Crown Archetype, April 25).

Lansing was the CEO of Paramount Pictures, and as President of Production at 20th Century Fox, she became the first female head of a major motion picture studio. The book traces her groundbreaking journey, shares behind-the-scenes tales from movie sets and Hollywood boardrooms, and touches on Lansing's dealings with some of today's biggest stars, including Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie, among others.

THE ATLANTA JAZZ FESTIVAL will celebrate this year’s International Jazz Day with a concert at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Sunday, April 30, 2017. As part of the 40 Days of Jazz, the concert will feature performances from the recently re-united Jazz Epistles, along with artists from Israel, Japan and Argentina.

International Jazz Day is celebrated to develop and increase intercultural exchanges and bring together communities, artists, historians and jazz enthusiasts across the globe to learn about jazz and its roots.

Jazz vocalist, Tamuz Nissim, jazz pianist, Senri Oe, jazz vocalist, Sofia Rei, and The Jazz Epistles, featuring Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya, and Hugh Masekela will perform during this year’s celebration.

Jane Kaczmarek
records stage adaptation of Moss Hart’s Act One’ for radio broadcast and online download with Jane Kaczmarek starring as Aunt Kate.

Written by James Lapine from Moss Hart’s best-selling autobiography, Act One celebrates Broadway and the life of the playwright whose wit and wisdom charmed the American stage for decades. Directed by Moss’s son, Christopher Hart.

In addition to Kaczmarek in multiple roles including “Aunt Kate,” the event features Paul Culos, Heidi Dippold, Jake Green, Anna Mathias, André Sogliuzzo, Daniel David Stewart, Mark Jude Sullivan and Jon Tenney.

Five performances. April 27-30, at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater in Los Angeles.

NATIONAL CHERRY CHEESECAKE DAY is today, April 23. Tomorrow is National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day. Tuesday is National Zucchini Bread Day. National Pretzel Day is on Wednesday. National Prime Rib Day is Thursday.


James McJannett-Smith shows Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince Harry how he works the equipment in the recording studio. Photo: Kensington Palace.
I once heard it said that a real problem was one that couldn't be solved by money. It's hard to imagine one more privileged than the royal family of Great Britain.

Yet, stress, heartache and despair hasn't escaped them.

The younger generation - Princes William, Harry and Duchess Kate - have spring-boarded the storied House of Windsor into the modern age with their emphasis on mental health through the formation of their mental health charity Heads Together.

Recently both Princes William and Harry have spoken out about how the death of their mother Princess Diana affected them.

Harry gave an emotional interview in which he revealed he sought professional help four years ago after struggling with the grief of Diana's death in August 1997.

Kate praised her brother-in-law, calling him 'brilliant' for disclosing in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that he spent nearly 20 years "not thinking' about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Thanks to the encouragement of his brother he sought professional help after two years of 'total chaos".

In a two part television documentary Wills called on the nation to end its 'stiff upper lip' mentality and vowed his own children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, would be encouraged to talk about their own feelings.

Previously both William and Kate have said they wouldn't hesitate to get professional help for their children if they thought they needed it.

"We need to make mental health normal, and we need to treat it in the same way we treat physical health. It has to be seen in the same way," Prince William emphasized.

Prince Harry showed up at the beginning of the London Marathon week to hand out Heads Together headbands. Heads Together is the London Marathon official charity this year. The charity aims to break down the stigma over mental health. The Marathon steps off today, Sunday, April 23, 2017.

Earlier in the week Duchess Kate held a reception for London Marathon runners who are taking part for Heads Together at Kensington Palace.

During the event, Kate chatted with a woman who had suffered post natal depression after the birth of her daughter. Kate, the mother of two who had difficult pregnancies, admitted that new mothers can feel lonely and isolated. "Nothing can prepare you for motherhood - especially the first time round, the mixed emotions."

Last Wednesday the royal trio visited former Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, England which was once the headquarters of EMI Music. The royals were there to open The Global Academy, a state university technical college for 14-19-year-old students who are being trained for jobs in broadcast and digital media from the Global Academy's university sponsor, University of the Arts London.

The newly built school inherited the Old Vinyl Factory's vinyl and broadcasting equipment.

The new school boasts state-of-the-art TV and radio studios, flexible teaching spaces, informal learning zones, a dining area, sports hall and a theatre.

Important to William, Harry and Kate is that the school incorporates mental health well being classes into its curriculum.

While at the school the royals participated in a mental health round table discussion. with Global morning breakfast show hosts, LBC's Nick Ferrari, Heart's Jamie Theakston and Emma Bunton and Capital's Roman Kemp, as well as students and people who took part in the morning radio shows, talking about the importance of having a conversation about mental health.

When one of the students told Kate that he was shy and wondered if that would affect his ability to go into the film industry, she replied, 'I'm shy as well, so don't worry."

The Duchess, who had been hearing how students benefited from their mental health classes, said: "It's having those age-appropriate conversations and bringing in the topic of mental health really at different levels. Whether it be at a happy level or a more serious level."

Prince Harry told students that, in the past, mental health topics had been viewed as a 'dry, depressing subject' which 'turned people away'.

'If you can bring a light-hearted humor and encourage people to speak about the subject in that way, it puts a smile on your face,' he said.

Harry continued: 'I think the whole country has shown a real appetite to want to talk about this.

'We've sort of unlocked something. It's like taking the lid off a boiling pan. It's been simmering for a very long time and everyone's desperate for it to come out.

"It's just providing a mechanism. We need to prioritize mental health."

Big brother William had earlier given an interview to CALMzine, a publication which focuses on tackling mental health issues in men. "The strongest guys are the ones who can talk about it.

"The weak guys are the ones who bottle it away and it makes their lives spiral completely out of control. And it ruins their lives eventually.

"You waste a lot of your life worrying and stressing about stuff that frankly, if you have a conversation and talk to somebody it will make everything much better."

During their visit Wills, Harry and Kate watched the morning breakfast radio broadcasts of flagship Global radio stations LBC, Heart and Capital being broadcast from the school.

The shows each focused on the mental health of young people, helping to generate conversations with the Heads Together campaign in honor of the royal visit.

William, Harry and Kate each visited a classroom, where pupils were learning about the science of sound. Prince Harry was given a science lesson with pupils aged 14 to 16, learning about sound waves and inquired if their 'mates were jealous' they were able to attend the specialized school.

Kate watched one student studio engineer working on footage of her husband's internet conversation with the singer Lady Gaga, which had taken place earlier that week.

Prince William was also given the opportunity to listen to speeches by his ancestors, including George VI's message to the empire on September 3, 1939, following Neville Chamberlain's declaration that Britain was at war with Germany. He also heard Princess Elizabeth's first public broadcast, on October 13, 1940, delivered when she was 14-years-old, to encourage evacuated children of the blitz.

William also unveiled a microphone once used by his great-grandfather, George VI. It had been specially commissioned for on his accession in 1936, and housed in the former EMI building.

THE OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE an association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, web sites, radio and television stations, and theatre publications in America and abroad, will announce their theatrical nominations on Tuesday, April 25 at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City.

The nominees will be announced by Jane Krakowski and Danny Burstein.

Afterwards, Broadway To Vegas will post the nominees. See a list of the nominees.

PEABODY ENTERTAINMENT AWARD WINNERS have been announced. They are:

Beyoncé's visual album, Lemonade, for its contributions to the greater cultural landscape.

FX’s Atlanta,"Donald Glover’s enchanting series on the struggles of two young black men trying to make it in Atlanta’s rap scene."

FX’s Better Things, Co-created by Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K. "the result of this searingly funny and beautiful show is an at-times raw examination of the vicissitudes of working motherhood, crackling with feminist verve and energy, that consistently cuts new ground."

BBC One’s Happy Valley, "Series creator Sally Wainwright has given us perhaps the greatest female lead on television today in Catherine Cawood, played by Sarah Lancashire in a stunning performance."

Louis C.K.’s independently-released on Hulu Horace and Pete, "is a truly independent and groundbreaking demonstration of how quality television is expertly done in the new media environment, all the while building upon decades of artistry and craft."

Channel 4’s National Treasure, called "A dark and timely examination of sexual abuse at the hands of privileged celebrity."

HBO’s Veep, "a workplace comedy that not only captures the zeitgeist of the current bizarre political moment but transcends its own form to deliver a sobering message, with sharp dialogue, street savvy—and lots of laughs."

The Peabody Awards are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

ANASTASIA book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and choreography by Peggy Hickey.

Directed by Darko Tresnjak.

Starring Christy Altomare, Derek Klena, John Bolton, Ramin Karimloo, Caroline O’Connor and Mary Beth Peil.

Opening Monday, April 24 at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City.

TWO WEDDINGS, ONE BRIDE a brand new operetta created by Robert Greene, based on a story by Charles Lecocq.

Music Director Robert Greene.

Directed by Dean Bryant.

"The governor is in a pickle. Those bankers are so fickle. He's stretched the state purse a little too far and his creditors will soon come a-knocking. Twin girls, one decked in pink, one blue plan to marry suitors brave and true. A wedding could save their father's bacon, too - If those damn pirates will stay away..."

All of your favorite operetta waltzes, polkas and songs by Strauss, Offenbach, Lehár and Kálmán come together in this raucous comedy.

Featuring Julie Lea Goodwin, David Lewis, Nicholas Jones, Andrew Jones, Robert Alexander, and Geraldine Turner.

Set Designer Owen Phillips. Costume Designer Tim Chappel. Lighting Designer John Rayment. Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth. Assistant Director Johanna Puglisi.

Sydney Opera House Playhouse, April 27 - October 22, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.

FLOWN is the award-winning show from internationally acclaimed contemporary circus company Pirates of the Carabina – known for their daring and beautifully choreographed aerial theatre performances.

Mixing comedy and chaos with bold physicality and live music, Flown invites audiences to come inside, to look backstage and delight in the absurdity of contemporary circus life.

Billed as : "Irreverent and silly, bold and breathtaking, Flown tells the tale of this motley crew of incredible acrobats, aerialists, musicians and stuntmen trying to get the show on the road. A flying aerialist is still ironing her dress, the stagehand gets tangled up in the rigging, the guitarist flies just a little too high, and is that one of the stuntmen dangling from the lighting bar? Catastrophe is surely just one wrong move away. Things go right and plenty more goes wrong - disagreements, fear and exhaustion threaten to sabotage the spectacle, and catastrophe is just one move away."

Featuring hand-balancing, Cyr wheel, tight wire, never-ending silks, flying pole, counterweighted hoop, flying drums, dance and unexpected acrobatic aerial stunts, Flown "is a captivating show packed with thrills, laughs and extraordinary physical feats all set to an original live soundtrack. And of course, in the end, everything is Flown. Even the band".

Flown promises to "turn whatever you think you know about circus on its head, and is a captivating show for the whole family."

A production first in the Cornwall's 80-year-theatre history takes place April 27, 28 & 29 at Minack in Cornwall, England.

ARCHDUKE a new play from Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie Award winner Rajiv Joseph.

Directed by Giovanna Sardelli.

Commissioned by Center Theatre Group, this play poetically traces a group of young men along their unlikely path to terrorism at the onset of World War I.

The cast includes, in alphabetical order, Josiah Bania, Joanne McGee, Ramiz Monsef, Patrick Page, Stephen Stocking and Todd Weeks.

Archduke follows the unlikely path to terrorism as three strangers, already struggling to get by, receive a death sentence in the form of a tuberculosis diagnosis. But being young men with nothing to lose in Belgrade, 1914, makes them the perfect recruits for a secret organization looking to strike a blow in the name of Serbian nationalism.

The creative team includes scenic design by Tim Mackabee, costume design by Denitsa Bliznakova, lighting design by Lap Chi Chu, music and sound by Daniel Kluger and casting by Telsey + Company.

A World Premiere April 25 – June 4, 2017 at the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, CA.


NEIL DIAMOND entertains Wednesday, April 26, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL. On Friday he can be found at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC. Next Sunday, April 30, he stars at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, GA.

KRISTIN CHENOWETH is in the spotlight Thursday, April 27 at the University of Missouri Concert Series - Missouri Theatre, Columbia, MO. On Friday she's on stage at the University of Missouri, Saint Louis, MO. Next Sunday, April 30, she stars at Boston Symphony Hall, Boston, MA.

JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER on stage next Sunday, April 30, at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Greenvale, NY.

PINK MARTINI in the spotlight Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Alfried Krupp Saal, Essen, Germany.

STEVE TYRELL the Grammy-winning vocalist opens a three night gig April 27 at the Samueli Theater at Segerstrom in Costa Mesa, CA.

ARIELLE JACOBS who has starred in In The Heights, Wicked and Aladdin in her debut one-woman-show A Leap in the Dark. featuring direction by JJ Caruncho, music direction by Heath Saunders, with special guest Nicholas Christopher. Musicians include Jonny Morrow (Bass), Joe Nero (Drums), and Adam Kornreich (Guitar). April 30, 2017 at Feinstein's at 54 Below in New York City.

BRUNO MARS opens a two nighter Monday, April 24, at Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, England. On Thursday he performs at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England. On Saturday he begins another two nighter, this one at 3 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.


CLIFTON JAMES stage and screen actor best known for his portrayal of a Southern sheriff in two James Bond films died Saturday, April 14, 2017 in Gladstone, Ore., due to complications from diabetes. He was 96.

A member of the Actors Studio, made his Broadway debut in the 1955 production of The Time of Your Life. Other Broadway in which he appeared include: Total Abandon, The Shadow Box, The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, And Things That Go Bump in the Night, Andorra, Great Day in the Morning, All the Way Home, The Long Dream and The Cave Dwellers.

He was married twice: first to to Donna Lea Beach, from 1948 to 1950, with whom he had one child; and to Laurie Harper, from 1951 until her death in 2015, with whom he had five children. He is survived by two sisters, five children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

ERIN MORAN who became a star portraying teenager Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days, died April 22, 2017. She was 56 and had spent years living a hard party lifestyle mixed with erratic behavior.

UPDATE On Monday, April 24, 2017, authorities announced that an autopsy revealed that the Moran had "likely died of complications from stage 4 cancer." No drugs were found in her body.

Authorities found her dead in Indiana following a call about an 'unresponsive female', according to TMZ. which first reported her death.

Her first marriage to Rocky Ferguson lasted from 1987-1993. That same year she married Steve Fleischmann. It 2013 it was reported they were contemplating separating. They reportedly lived off of a settlement Moran received following a lawsuit filed by Happy Days stars Don Most, Anson Williams and Marion Ross, plus the estate of Tom Bosley, who died in 2010. The lawsuit was initiated after Ross was informed by a friend playing slots at a casino of a "Happy Days" machine on which players win the jackpot when five Marion Rosses are rolled.

The $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS, which owns the show, asserted that they had not been paid for merchandising revenues owed under their contracts.

Published reports stated that in June, 2012 Moran had been evicted from her home.

In July 2012, the actors settled their lawsuit with CBS. Each received a payment of $65,000 and a promise by CBS to continue honoring the terms of their contracts.

In November 2012 it was published that the actress was kicked out of a trailer park she had been living in with her husband and his 72-year-old mother "who she allegedly got into a drunken brawl with in early October."

She had no children.

Next Column: April 30, 2017
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Laura Deni

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