Broadway To Vegas
SHOW REVIEWS CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS GOSSIP NEWS
Copyright: April 8, 2001
By: Laura Deni
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JACK NICHOLSON CHARMS
Jack Nicholson is in Omaha, Nebraska filming his latest movie About Schmidt. Nicholson
plays a retired insurance salesman dealing with a divorce and his daughter's pending marriage to a
man he doesn't like.
Crews are all over Omaha and surrounding cities, including making purchases in The Next
Millennium, a store that specializes in New Age, religious supplies, and gifts. Items purchased included 20x20
inch Celtic rope and knot design posters, crystals, crystal balls and books, according to our eye
witness. "They were fairly large, background objects that would show up easily on the
Even Nicholson movies have strict budgets and when the bill came over to over $300.00
"she returned a $30.00 lighted stand that would have held the crystal ball. The set person
explained to the salesperson that she only had a budget of $300.00 for that particular set. That
brought the bill down to $299.10 and she paid cash."
Meanwhile Nicholson has endeared himself to everyone. The actor signed a cast
on the foot of Tyler Heng, a freshman at Nebraska City Lourdes Catholic High School. He's also
autographed somebody's hand, a T-shirt and a copy of a The Sound of Music script. The
Oscar winner is chatting with anybody who stops him, asking about their interests and lives. After
eating a Reese's Pieces and cookie dough Dairy Queen Blizzard the concoction was immediately
re-named the Jack Nicholson Blizzard.
Nicholson has attended a performance of the Nebraska Symphony and eaten dinner out at the
Flatiron Cafe and at V Mertz, chowing down on veal and beef with co-star Kathy Bates and
director, Omaha native Alexander Payne. The star also ate lunch with the rest of the cast and crew
in the basement of St. Mary's Catholic Church. The Rev. Michael McCabe opened up the church
to the film company explaining that they wished to be hospitable.
The production company has employed about 700 locals as
extras and Nicholson has won over
the hearts of every person he's encountered. Said one who almost hyperventilated at meeting him:
"He's very nice. He's not anything like he was in
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SEARCHING FOR SIGNS OF LIFE
IN THE UNIVERSE
The 1997 movie Contact starring Jodi Foster, Matthew McConaughey, and James Woods
was based on the novel by Ann Druyan and Carl Sagan who specialized in exobiology, the
field of biology that investigates extraterrestrial life.
JODY FOSTER in Contact
Sagan wrote more than 20 books and died on Dec. 20, 1996 during the production of
Contact. He was 62.
Characters in the movie were reality inspired.
The blind researcher, Kent Clark, Project Manager of Project Phoenix, and the leader of its
signal detection team is really a blind Ph.D. physicist named Kent Cullers.
Cullers and Sagan were friends. Sagan not only based that character on Cullers, at one point it
looked as if the intellectual was going to become a movie star.
Last Friday night Cullers was in a classroom at the University of Nebraska in Omaha delivering a
speech sponsored by The Omaha Astronomical Society.
"The first director had me screen test to play myself. He judged me competent enough to play
myself," quipped Cullers. "I don't think my screen test caused it, but the very next day he got fired
or had a parting of the ways and left the movie and went to Australia to do something else. The
new director, Robert Zemeckis, thought the part should be expanded and that a real actor should
be used, but they used my screen test to help develop the character."
Sagan had Cullers write about SETI to keep the organization reality based in the
About 50 people sat enthralled as Cullers discussed new efforts in expanding the search to
discover intelligent life in space.
While Lilly Tomlin has spent decades on stage looking for signs of intelligent life, the scientific
community has thus far been limited to audio search - listening to noises from the great beyond.
However, new optical lenses have been developed for high powered telescopes, meaning that
soon experts will be able to conduct vision as well as audio field searches in their quest for life
in outer space.
The Silicon Valley based scientist frequently travels in support of SETI.
The film also mirrored financial cutbacks. In the movie when the Jody Foster character, Ellie,
sees her SETI project shut down, she turns to a Howard Hughes-like private donor to continue
In real life, former Nevada Senator Richard Bryan amended the NASA appropriation bill of 1994
to kill SETI, forcing the Institute to seek private funding. Today the SETI Institute is actively
involved in establishing a $100 million endowment to ensure that the searching can continue as
long as necessary.
ACTORS AND EQUITY REACH
The verbal fisticuffs between Actors' Equity and The League of American Theatres and Producers
over their National Broadway Theatre Awards has ended.
The agreement will permit Equity members to participate in the upcoming Awards Ceremony on
May 21 at The Supper Club in NYC.
Initial bickering over having Equity members competing against non-Equity associates for awards
turned into high drama when Equity workers bailed out in even attending much less particpating
in the awards show, which is to be co-hosted by Henry Winkler and John Ritter.
Shortly after the awards nominations were announced by the League in March, Equity objected
to the fact that non-union tours were included alongside union tours. Members of Equity must
meet membership requirements, pay dues and obey Equity rules.
Equity withdrew its objections to the NBTA on March 27, following lengthy discussions between
Alan Eisenberg, Equity's Executive Director, and Jed Bernstein, President of the League. An
informal meeting between League presenters and Equity staff, attended by the League's Director
of Membership Services, Ed Sandler, and Eisenberg, was also helpful in reaching a
compromise, according to Equity Communications Director David Lotz.
In the future, Equity tours and Equity actors will be identified on NBTA ballots. In this year's
awards ceremony, a separate award will be given to an Equity actor or Equity show, if a
non-Equity actor or show wins in any category.
In other words - if you're in an Equity production you have a double opportunity to win. If an
Equity shows wins there is no consolation award given to a non Equity
Under the terms of the agreement, starting next season, the League's presenters will be asked to
identify Equity tours in publicity material and display an Equity logo at the box office,
distinguishing the show as an Equity production.
According to the League, the awards "provide a way for producers and presenters to promote and
market Broadway shows and their casts, which will create a larger market for, and awareness of
live theatre." Unlike the Tony Awards, voting is conducted by the theatre-going public, who can
vote via the internet or by mailing in ballots distributed in the lobbies of participating theatres
around the country. According to both sides, the agreement will address mutual
A press release stated
"Equity is pleased that the League has agreed to identify Equity productions in the future so that
the public can make an informed choice when voting for their favorite show or actor," said Alan
Eisenberg. "Anything that stimulates the public's interest in live professional theatre should be
encouraged," he added.
League President Jed Bernstein said, "We are delighted to be going forward with arrangements
for the National Broadway Theatre Awards with the full and complete support of Actors' Equity
and are equally happy to support their efforts to recognize the excellence of Equity members in
touring companies all over the U.S."
CHILDREN DOING COMMERCIALS:
HOPPING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK
Much has been written about the horrors of children in show business. People will walk across a
street to avoid a stage mother. Protect the child and pity the parents who try to live the life they
never had through their child's success and look upon their off spring as an expanded meal ticket.
BILL and REID KIRCHENBAUER Cadbury
As grim as the negatives are, not every kid in the spotlight is destined for emotional mess up.
For instance, there is that commercial for the Cadbury Easter eggs - that famous chocolate
orange egg and the introduction this year of the chocolate raspberry egg.
The commercial features a man and a boy in Easter bunny suits. It could have been just the
casting director pairing up actors who made the final audition cuts.
In this case they are a real life father and son combo - actor comedian Bill Kirchenbauer and his
son, Reid who turns ten this Sept.25. It wasn't Reid's first time in front of the camera. He's had
parts in several TV series and was in the movie The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
We spoke with Bill about his son's involvement in the world of child actors and Bill offered some
advise for parents who would like to see their progeny in the child work force.
First the benefits: A child can earn a lot of money. If the child makes $8,000 at something and
you bank that - by the time the child reaches 21 it's a nice little nest egg.
The schooling provided the children is the best. The studios look for the creme de la creme of
teachers. The studios have educational standards that are higher than the best schools. Child
actors receive the very finest in education.
It's not all positives. It's a business and with the job comes hard work.
Mandatory publicity photographs have to be taken more often of a child than of an adult. While
an adult might need to be re-shot only once every two to five years a child is going to need new
pictures every six months. Each photo session will cost several hundred dollars.
If you think you child is beautiful and perfect chances are that kid isn't going to get the
REID KIRCHENBAUER represented by ddk Talent
"They want the child who looks different or is capable of looking different - where there
is something about the child that isn't ordinary. That can be something like even ears that
stick out," explained Kirchenbauer.
The hours are long and hard. Even though the child may be in front of the camera from a few
seconds to a few minutes, the time at the studio can be from early morning until late at night.
Reid's mother serves as his chauffeur and personal manager. "That means that if Reid has to be at
the studio at six in the morning, so does his mother."
The false presumption that if you just knew something your child would be a star - is also
akin to - if all you needed was to know somebody every hooker in Hollywood would be
Kirchenbauer rose to fame in his role as Coach Lubbock on the hit comedy show Growing
Pains and star of ABC's Just the Ten of Us. He regularly works as a stand up comic
and also produces the Legends in Comedy show in Las Vegas. Thus, Kirchenbauer was able to
open the door for his son by taking him to his commercial agent. However, once the entrance is
made, it's the child who must establish his right not to be shut out. At first Reid though acting was
fun. Then he informed his parents that he didn't want to go to any more auditions.
It's at that point that the true motives of the parents surface. If a parent is looking at the child as
the bank account, that becomes the water shed where the manipulative parent pushes the child on
stage whether they want it or not. In the case of the Kirchenbauers they simply said - fine - and
stopped lining up auditions and never mentioned the subject.
A couple of months later Reid announced he wanted to get back in the audition line.
The father-son Cadbury commercial was a neat bonding experience for father and son. There
have been other father son commercials but they have been stars playing themselves - Bing
Crosby poured orange juice for his children. In this case, Bill and Reid are not identified and
portray pseudo Easter bunnies. The result is - Reid has a reason to hop all the way to the bank.
This past week stars have been vacating the stages and studios to trek back to the
Henry Winkler put on his leather jacket at Staten Island's PS 42 on Thursday as part of the
Principal for a Day program sponsored by Public Education Needs Civic Involvement In
Learning (PENCIL). The actor was in the principal's office to counsel students exiled
Julianna Margulies was at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts in Manhattan, while
Billy Baldwin picked the Brooklyn high school his father attended Boys and Girls High
School. Wyclef Jean was principal for a day at Truman High School in the Bronx. Also doing
time behind the principal's desk were NBA entertainment president Adam Silver, Liberty star
Rebecca Lobo, and TV star Summer Sanders - principals for the day at MS 247 on West 92nd
Talk Media president Ron Galotti tackled middle school IS 45 in the South Bronx, and wrestler
Mick (Mankind) Foley was the main man at the Hunger Ford School for severely handicapped
kids on Staten Island.
David Letterman lectured to Al Gore's journalism class at Columbia University.
Ted Danson and the cast of Becker sat in on an NYU medical class where future
physicians were being taught proper bedside manner, a class that Danson admits his TV character
either missed or flunked.
Jasmine Guy made use of a break between roles to stress the importance of reading to elementary
school students. Guy shot to fame as Whitley Gilbert in the 1990s sitcom A Different
World starred as Velma Kelly in a road production of the musical Chicago and also
appeared in The Vagina Monologues. She read to youngsters at Hanley Elementary
School in Memphis. ''No matter what you do in life, you have to be able to read,'' she told the
youngsters. Guy was no stranger to some at the school. Her mother-in-law, Loraine
Patterson, is the school's media specialist. And her niece, Jashayla, is a Hanley kindergarten
Meanwhile, Tom Hanks has donated $125,000 to help restore the auditorium at Skyline High
School in Oakland, Calif., from which he graduated in 1974. Since 1999, the Skyline Performing
Arts Committee has been trying to restore the school's 38-year-old theater, once the pride of
Oakland. Hanks also promised to attend the restored theater's grand opening next year
spent his birthday testifying before Congress last Tuesday about the horrors of Alzheimer's
Disease. Both his grandfather, father and aunt died from the disease.
THE ESSENCE AWARDS the
Magazine's annual celebration returns to New York City taking place on Friday, April 27th at the
Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
Previous Essence Awards honorees and appearances have included Muhammad Ali, Maya
Angelou, Bill Cosby, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston, Janet
Jackson, Michael Jordan, Patti LaBelle, Quincy Jones, Spike Lee, Wynton Marsalis, Chris Rock,
Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder, as well as dozens of community activists
who have given of themselves to improve the quality of life for others.
THE GREAT AMERICAN MUTT SHOW will be held on Pier 92 on April 21. It is the first national show
highlighting mix-breed dogs. Sponsored by Tails in Need a nonprofit foundation founded by
prominent interior designers Bunny Williams and Kitty Hawk
Sniffing and scratching, 700 dogs are expected to have a doggoned good time participating in The
Great American Mutt Show with participating tail waggers coming from as far away as
There will be forty classes in twenty competition categories including "mostly" breed categories
such as Mostly Hound, Mostly Spaniel, Mostly Shepherd, and Mostly Collie. They will also
compete in such noble abet creative classifications as Best Kisser, Most Musical, Best Lap Dog
Over 50 lbs., Highest Jumper, Longest Tail, Best Tail Chaser, Best Catcher and Pets who Look
most like their Owners -- and of course, the Best in Show.
BEST IN SHOW Trophy has been designed and donated by architect
Michael Graves. BEST IN CLASS trophies are engraved in stainless dog bowls donated by
Trixie & Peanut.All dog participants will receive a special Great American Mutt Show bow
Open to the general public Deadline for dog entry is Wednesday, April 11th. Only registered dogs
will be allowed onto Pier 92.
In this the first year of competition, The Great American Mutt Show's primary
recipient of funds will be The Humane Society of New York (HSNY). Established in 1904,
HSNY reaches out to city animals in need of medical attention or a permanent home. HSNY
which promotes a no-kill policy, helps over 29,000 dogs and cats annually, through its hospital,
spay/neuter program, and adoption center.
The Great American Mutt Show 2001 has been entirely underwritten by the generous support of
individuals. Key donors include Isaac Mizrahi who adopted a mutt - Harry - at the Tails In Need
launch party last December.
Others are Mrs. Vincent Astor, Lauren Bathgate, Lawrence E. Bathgate, II, Candice Bergen, Mr.
and Mrs. Robert J. Blinken, Linda S. Bresch, Franchelli Cadwell, Alan Campbell, Edward Lee
Cave, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Cole, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar de la Renta, Mrs. Danielle S. Dean, Skye
Elsas, Tina Fogel, Jonathan Gargiulo, Furlow Gatewood, Mr. and Mrs. S. Parker Gilbert, Isabel
Cristina Grajales, Michael Graves, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin A. Groves,
ISSAC MIZRAHI adopted a mutt
The Honorable and Mrs.
Henry A. Grunwald, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Sarah H. Hastings, Kitty Hawks, Inge
Heckel, Mr. and Mrs. Ward Landrigan, Mrs. S. Deborah Lash, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder,
Lawrence Lederman, Mr. and Mrs. Toland Link, Pamela W. Logan, Elise Lufkin.
Janet Mavec, Alan W. Melville, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Offit, R. Scott Ornstein, Muriel Peters,
Mrs. Alton E. Peters, Cynthia Phipps, Dr. Charles E. Pierce Jr., William D. Rondina, Carmen A.
Ross, John Rosselli, Mr. and Mrs. John Sabre, Emilia A. Saint-Amand, Gilbert P. Schafer III,
Mrs. Gilbert P. Schafer, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, Patricia Bleznak
Silverstein, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Stapleton III, Michael D. Trapp, Judith Watson, William
Wegman, Lin Weinberg, Bunny Williams, Andrea Woodner, and Linda Yang.
To register call 212-327-3164.
TALK A LOT
Playwright August Wilson is part of the panel for Theater Talk's "Off Broadway at The
Millennium" forum tomorrow, April 9, at The Lucille Lortel Theatre in Greenwich Village,
Wilson, one of this year's Lucille Lortel Award nominees for his play Jitney, will be joined
by fellow Lortel nominee, actor Brian Murray for The Play About the Baby, as well as by
The Vagina Monologues' producer David Stone and drama critics Linda Winer of
Newsday and Clive Barnes of the New York Post.
The panel, hosted by Michael Riedel of the New York Post and producer Susan
Haskins, will discuss the state of Off-Broadway in 2001. This will be followed by Q&A with the
The program, which will be taped for later broadcast on Thirteen/WNET, is
open to the public free-of-charge, on a first come, first serve basis.
... AND THEN THERE'S BEA Bea Arthur's one-woman show with her friend Billy Goldenberg at the
piano will have it's national premiere at at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis April 24-29 The
production then hits the road for a 25 city tour and a spring 2002 New York opening
From Mame to Maude to The Golden Girls, Bea Arthur's career has spanned six
decades of work on stage, television, and film. She is best known as the sharp-tongued Dorothy
in the long-running The Golden Girls, as the Emmy Award-winning Maude, as
Vera Charles in her Tony Award-winning performance in Mame, and as Yente the
Matchmaker in the original Broadway production Fiddler on the Roof.
This new effort will tilt towards heartwarming and hilarious as Bea shares stories and songs
from her triumphs and tribulations over the course of her career
In addition to this production Goldenberg ( See Broadway To Vegas
column of May 10, 1999 )
currently working with librettist Tom Jones on Harold and Maude, a new musical in
development for Broadway.
CABARET April 10-15 in
Naples, FL at the Naples Philharmonic
FAME at the Aladdin Hotel, Las
Vegas April 18-22.
THE GARDEN OF FRAU HESS
by Milton F. Marcus, directed by Rhoda R. Herrick presented by The Jewish Repertory Theatre,
Ran Avni, Artistic Director, begins previews at The Duke in NYC April 21. The Garden
of Frau Hess takes place in Germany in 1944, where a relationship develops between Ilse
Hess, wife of Nazi party leader Rudolph Hess and Isaac Baum, a concentration camp prisoner,
former professor of horticulture, who becomes her gardener. The play is a fictional relationship,
based upon actual events.
The two person cast features Lisa Bostnar and Joel Leffert. Set design is by Richard Ellis,
costume design by Gail Cooper-Hecht, and lighting design by Richard Latta.
O PIONEERS! a musical based
on Willa Cather's famous novel debuts April 19 in New York City at Producers Club
II. The Pulitzer-Prize winner, who grew up in Red Cloud, Neb., in addition to writing O
Pioneers! also authored My Antonia and other American classics of the Great Plains.
Cather died in April 25, 1947.
O Pioneers! tells the story of Alexandra Bergson and her struggles dealing not only with
the unknown quantities of farming life, but also her conflicts with the world's condescending view
of women. Intertwined in this tale is the tragic love story between Alexandra's brother Emil and
a neighbor's wife, Alexandra's childhood friend Maria.
Cather's epic and touching story has been adapted for the musical stage by Robert Sickinger, who
wrote the book, music and lyrics for the piece. He will also direct. Sickinger has been called the
father of today's Chicago theatre, Sickinger founded Hull House Theatre, which seeded what was
then a barren theatrical landscape and is now as fertile as the Nebraska prairie. David Mamet,
whom Sickinger mentored at Hull House, called him "one of the greatest directors I've ever
As for Cather, she was my father's Godmother. As a generation jump baby - meaning my
deceased parents were old enough to be my grandparents when I was born - logically, the rest of
the principal players were dead before I was ever on the scene. Yet, Cather always seemed to be
a formidable presence. She selected my father's name - Charles Cedric - because, as she wrote in
his baby book, she thought it was important and dignified. Weekly my grandmother wrote Cather
and weekly Willa replied by rewriting the letters into carefully crafted, detailed notations about my
father's babyhood activities. The Cather letters were placed in his baby book. That continued until
my grandmother left her husband and son to run off with another man - a turn of the century
My mother met Cather on several occasions and thought Willa was a lesbian whose true soul
mate was her writing. She frequently dressed in men's clothing and my mother said she
always tried to give the impression that she wasn't frightened by Willa. The author was
fascinated by a lot of things. From what I gleaned in growing up hearing about her, she would no
doubt have been intrigued that an asteroid has been named after her. Amateur astronomer Robert
Linderholm, who discovered the asteroid in 1997, submitted Cather's name to the International
Astronomical Union, the group that designates asteroids as new celestial bodies. He recently
learned that asteroid No. 14969 will be named after Cather.
What probably would have ticked Cather off is that a few years ago members of the Latter Day
Saints church had her baptized into their faith through a proxy baptism. Cather had joined the
Episcopal Church and, according to my mother who watched her conduct some ceremonies held
behind super secret closed doors in New York City - Willa Cather was fond of
plays at the
Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville on April 14. The tickets are $32.50 and $25.
JOHNNY MATHIS April 13 and 14
in Fort Lauderdale, FL at the Broward Center
ROBERT GOULET spends April 12
doing a national TV Commercial for Excite.Com
MAYNARD FERGUSON April 10-13
at the Blue Note, NYC.
NEIL SEDAKA April 13 at the
Mohegan Sun Casino.
DEBBIE REYNOLDS at the
Performing Arts Center in Coral Springs, FL on April 14.
THE PIZZARELLI FAMILY April
10th - May 5th at Feinsteins at the Regency, NYC
LORETTA LYNN out of
hospital after an 11 day stay battling pneumonia. She's had to cancel all performances through
the end of this month She's getting herself geared up for May 26 - that's when she opens a
Loretta Lynn museum on her dude ranch in Hurricane Mills, about 60 miles west of
THIS AND THAT
RICK SPRINGFIELD star of the
EFX show at the MGM-Grand in Las Vegas went across the street to the Virgin Megastore in the
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace to host a CD-signing. Springfield's newest release is Greatest
Hits ... Alive
Mention BROADWAY TO VEGAS for Special Consideration
Call (800) 942-9027
Next Column:April 15, 2001
Copyright: April 8, 2001. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Original
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