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AMUSEMENT PARKS NOW STRESS SECURITY FIRST - - DEBORAH COX: I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU CD REVIEW - - BOTTICELLI AND THE SEARCH FOR THE DIVINE - - THE ARTISTS WHO MAKE THE ONSTAGE MAGIC - - EMMY WINNER AND BROADWAY VETERAN IN TRIAL AND ERROR - - DUCHESS KATE ATTENDED THE OPENING OF 42nd STREET - - EASTER EGGS IN THE BRITISH ROYAL COLLECTION - - BEN PLATT AND MICHAEL GREIF IN CONVERSATION - - DONATE . . . Scroll Down





Copyright: April 9, 2017
By: Laura Deni
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AMUSEMENT PARKS STRESS SECURITY FIRST, WITHOUT DESTROYING THE FANTASY



Disneyland always prided itself on being "the happiest place on earth." To keep it that way, theme parks in general, have become safety first - then fantasy.

You can still stand in line for hours in order get on a ride - provided you have first passed through security which can include a metal detector.

For those with body parts containing any metal substance - not so much fun. If you receive a secondary screening at the airport, you might experience the same at amusement parks.

Perhaps understandably so, officials contacted at both Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland didn't respond to questions about patdowns and body searches.

In the 70s I was admitted to Disneyland to write two articles - one about the on site, emergency first aid clinic; and the other about the Disneyland police force.

It wasn't easy getting Disneyland's cooperation. They pride themselves on control with the object of maintaining a world of fantasy for both children and grown-ups. Their position was they didn't want guests to realize that real life events which require medical or police assistance could ever be necessary in "The Happiest Place on Earth."

I received approval after I argued my case that the articles were for trade publications, wouldn't automatically be read by the general public and placed Disneyland in a favorable position with both the medical and law enforcement communities.

In the February 1979 issue of The Journal of Nursing Care I authored a profile article on Dorethea Asher whose grandchildren I wrote "tell their friends about their Grandmother, the nurse at Disneyland, who takes care of Mickey Mouse."

My article also contained a picture I took of Asher taking the blood pressure of Pinocchio.

I pointed out that the first aid station was impressive. "In the summer we usually have about 12 nurses working during the day," stated Asher who had transferred from a hospital nurse to one at Disneyland in 1958.

The article for a police magazine on security at Disneyland left no doubt that the police force at the amusement park was as well organized and competent as one in any bustling city.

They were just circumspect. Shoplifters, pickpockets and fake tickets were the most frequent problems. The most feared was that somebody would commit a serious crime elsewhere and then enter Disneyland to melt into the crowd.

The thought that somebody might bring in a gun - at that time - wasn't considered a serious possibility. After all it was Disneyland.

In the article I referred to a Walt Disney statement: "I don't want the public to see the real world they live in while they're in the park. I want them to feel they are in another world."

Reality changed everything for amusement parks of every variety.

Riots have taken place. Guns have been used. Approaching their due date pregnant ladies, exhibiting little common sense, still enter the gates and babies have actually been born in amusement parks. Not smart.

Depending upon current events all venues have the ability to react to basically any situation. Security can be ramped up faster than completing a thrill ride.

As far back as 1998 Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor operated by Six Flags in Southern California installed metal detectors, similar to the type used at airports and positioned them behind the ticket booths.

Six Flags had been purchased earlier that year by industry giant Premier Parks Inc. which also installed metal detectors at its theme parks in Texas and New Jersey.

At that time spokesmen for Disneyland stressed that metal detectors were never used at that park, although officials at Universal Studios Hollywood and Knott's Berry Farm indicated that hand held devices were used at those parks during some special events such as Halloween Haunt.

Disneyland which prided itself in wanting all customers to be engulfed in the spirit of fantasy happiness balked at drawing patrons back into reality by being forced to pass through metal detectors.

Then the cold cruel world caught up with Mouse House and in December 2015 the facility banned patrons from wearing costumes and possessing toy guns and began using bomb sniffing dogs and random metal detector screenings as it tightened security.

Guests are now required to first pass through the park's long-standing bag-check area, then proceed to the park entrance, where some are randomly selected to walk through a metal detector, Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown told the press.

Selective metal detector screening isn't profiling as much as it is common sense. The vast majority of customers appreciate the added safety precaution.

Guests 14 and older are no longer allowed to wear costumes or masks, and toy guns - including toy blasters and squirt guns - were banned and stopped being sold at the park.

In Orlando, Florida, the Walt Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld theme parks that same year - 2015 - also began installing metal detectors.

This past week the last permanent metal detector holdout - Knott's Berry Farm - began installing those security devices at the entrance.

"The installation of metal detectors at our park is part of the ongoing evolution of our security practices," said Cherie Whyte, a Knott's spokeswoman, in a statement. "(It) is just one segment of a multi-layer security program, which is developed in coordination with local authorities."

Amusement parts in American and around the world are as popular as ever.

Customers haven't been seriously objecting to metal detectors. For most, they like the idea of feeling, if not totally safe, as least safer. After all, the thrill is suppose to generate from being on a ride, rather than watching a real life police chase.

Once you are finally admitted into a theme park you drop, if not down the rabbit hole, at least into the realm of make-believe.

By the way, if you're a roller coaster fan Knott’s Berry Farm is saying goodbye to the park’s veteran roller coaster, Boomerang on April 23rd. Riders will have one last chance to ride the reverse shuttle roller coaster throughout the duration of Knott’s annual springtime Boysenberry Festival which kicked off April 1 and ends on April 23.

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ART AND ABOUT



EASTER EGGS IN THE BRITISH ROYAL COLLECTION
This Mosaic egg is one of the most extraordinary of Fabergé’s Imperial Easter Eggs. Its intricate mesh is fitted with tiny diamonds, rubies, topaz, sapphires, garnets, pearls and emeralds. All are perfectly cut and polished to fill the spaces. Around the centre of the egg, oval panels depict flowers in a style intended to look like embroidery.
The designer, Alma Theresia Pihl, was inspired to produce this motif when one evening she watched her mother-in-law doing her needlework, which shimmered in the light of the fire. The egg also contains a hidden 'surprise' – a medallion with portraits of the children of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra. The egg was bought by King George V in 1933, probably for Queen Mary’s birthday. Photo: Royal Trust Queen Elizabeth II
Fabergé's Imperial Easter Eggs are the best known and most admired of his creations. Showcasing a remarkable ingenuity in design, they also demonstrate his outstanding technical ability as a goldsmith and jeweler.

Easter is traditionally the most important celebration in the Russian Orthodox calendar. At this time, hand-dyed hen's eggs would be brought to church to be blessed and presented to family and friends. By the late nineteenth century, however, this practice had evolved among the St Petersburg aristocracy into the exchange of costly gifts.

The first Fabergé Easter egg was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III in 1885, as a wedding anniversary present for his consort, Marie Feodorovna. It became the first in a series of fifty produced by Fabergé for the Russian imperial family between 1885 and 1916. After his father's death, Tsar Nicholas II expanded the tradition, and from 1895 two eggs were produced almost every year: one for Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna and one for his mother, the Dowager Tsarina.

Each egg was prepared in great secrecy and took about a year to produce. Although Fabergé enjoyed complete freedom in design, he generally based an egg's theme on important recent events or achievements in the imperial household. He worked with trusted designers such as Franz Birbaum and Alexander Ivaskev, as well as with dozens of stonecarvers, gem cutters, engravers, polishers and enamelers. Most of the eggs also included a 'surprise' – a miniature model, image or mechanical object hidden inside. Their cost was consequently considerable, averaging 10,000 roubles each. At today's prices, they ranged from $94,000 to $1.1M.

Many of the imperial eggs were confiscated during the Revolution of 1917 and later sold to dealers and collectors in the West. Eight have disappeared and never been recovered. The three in the Royal Collection were acquired by King George V and Queen Mary in the 1930s.

BOTTICELLI AND THE SEARCH FOR THE DIVINE
Minerva and the Centaur (1481, Uffizi, Florence)
perhaps more than any other painter, Sandro Botticelli (about 1445–1510) exemplifies the artistic achievement of Renaissance Florence in the 15th century. “Botticelli and the Search for the Divine,” organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary and Italy’s Metamorfosi Associazione Culturale, explores the dramatic changes in the artist’s style and subject matter - from poetic depictions of classical gods and goddesses to austere sacred themes - reflecting the shifting political and religious climate of Florence during his lifetime.

At the height of his career, Botticelli was supported by the powerful Medici family, headed by Lorenzo the Magnificent. Botticelli’s instantly recognizable style, characterized by strong contours, lyrical poses, and transparent flowing drapery, was influenced both by Antique models and the courtly preferences of his patrons.

Two paintings from this period on view in the exhibition, Minerva and the Centaur (1481, Uffizi, Florence) and Venus (about 1490, Galleria Sabauda, Turin) - Botticelli’s reworking of his famous Birth of Venus - are life-size and display the painter’s skill in depicting elegant figures from classical mythology.

In his later years, Botticelli became a follower of the stern Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola, who by 1494 had established a theocracy in Florence following the exile of the Medici family. Personal conduct came under harsh scrutiny, and in 1497 all manner of worldly goods - including cosmetics, mirrors, fancy clothing, musical instruments, and paintings with nudes and pagan subjects -were burned in a notorious “Bonfire of the Vanities.”

Under Savonarola’s sway, Botticelli’s graceful manner gave way to a newly austere approach, and secular subject matter disappeared. Severe religious paintings dominate the artist’s later production, and such moving masterpieces as the Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John (about 1495, Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence) demonstrate the striking departure from his earlier sweet style. The exhibition also includes paintings by Botticelli’s teacher Filippo Lippi, his student Filippino Lippi, and other contemporaries.

The exhibition, the largest and most important display of Botticelli’s works in the United States, features 24 paintings from international lenders and the MFA’s own Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist (about 1500) as well as important loans from Harvard and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

April 15, 2017 – July 9, 2017 at the Boston Museum of Fine Art in Boston, MA.




SWEET CHARITY



DUCHESS KATE ATTENDED THE APRIL 4TH OPENING OF 42nd STREET
Duchess Kate was presented with a pair of tap shoes from 42nd Street producers Michael Linnet, Michael Grade and director Mark Bramble. Photo: Kensington Palace.
and was presented with a pair of tap shoes from producers Michael Linnet, Michael Grade and director Mark Bramble following the opening night Royal Gala performance.

The stage show's West End revival stars Grammy award winning Sheena Easton in her West End debut. The Grammy award winner plays Dorothy Brock. The musical also features Tom Lister as Julian Marsh, while Clare Halse plays Peggy Sawyer.

The opening night event was a charity fundraiser for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) to help the organization raise money for a new hospice. Kate has been Patron of the charity since 2012.

The charity supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions.

Mounted at the Theatre Royal Drury the Tony award winning musical is a tribute to the world of musical theatre and has returned to the West End after more than 30 years.

42nd Street debuted in New York in 1980 and is considered a legacy to Gower Champion, the famed director and choreographer of the original Tony Award-winning production.

The show, which features classic songs We're In The Money, Keep Young And Beautiful, I Only Have Eyes For You and Lullaby Of Broadway, is being mounted at the same theater where it made its first UK run from 1984 to 1989, starring a then-unknown Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The revival, directed by the show's author Mark Bramble, features a cast of more than 50 high-kicking performers, and will run until October 14, 2017.

The Duchess may have been paying homage to the production by selecting to wear a style, which is not only fashionable today, but is reminiscent of the 42nd Street era - a stunning crimson Marchesa Notte lace lattice pattern, rosette motif, fitted bodice with cap sleeves and flared skirt accented with a crystal jeweled belt, maroon heels and a clutch bag.

Other VIP guests in the audience included Morgan Freeman with a bandaged hand, Judy Murray, Bonnie Langford, Chris Moyles and Pete Waterman.






SPREADING THE WORD



TRIAL AND ERROR
The cast of Trial And Error. Publicity photo.
a new series on NBC is intelligent, clever, inventive, quirky and totally entertaining. A show which almost defies description. It's a mystery/comedic spoof/ farce/ drama neatly put together. There isn't another show like it on the air and nobody should try a copy-cat version. The show uses a difficult writing/directing style that if not done perfectly in all aspects, is a total disaster.

Fortunately, in the case of Trial and Error it's perfect. Even the following camera shots add to the over-all enjoyment.

Created by Jeff Astrof, who wrote for Friends and was the Co-Executive Producer of The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Matt Miller who is known for being the producer of Forever(2014), Chuck (2007) and Lethal Weapon (2016), Trial And Error is classified as a mockumentary. The first season's story line centers around a man (John Lithgow) being accused of his second wife's murder. That is the only aspect that even vaguely resembles what you might see elsewhere on any crime or mystery television show.

It stars Nicholas D'Agosto as Josh Segal an eager defense lawyer from Up North who is hired because he's Jewish. Almost instantly he realizes he is in over his head. Jayma Mays as Carol Anne Keane the prosecuting attorney who has some personal issues, (On a personal note she went to work on this series two weeks after giving birth) Steven Boyer as Dwayne Reed a rural boob of a retired cop who is the lead investigator. His office shares space with a taxidermy store. Krysta Rodriguez who appeared on Broadway in Good Vibrations, in the Heights, The Addams Family and in both the original and revival of Spring Awakening, is cast as Summer Henderson, daughter of the accused, and John Lithgow as Larry Henderson a South Carolina poetry professor who is accused of killing his second wife. He is having an affair with his male, personal trainer, rollercizes, rather than roller skates, and his first wife also died much the same way as wife number two. Lithgow, who won three Emmys starring in 3rd Rock from the Sun, plays the part to a fair-thee-well..

Sherri Shepherd portrays Anne Flatch. I couldn't abide Shepherd when she was part of The View. On this show her talent shines. She is utterly precious in the role of a head researcher who can't remember faces (although she has perfect penis recall), laughs at inappropriate moments and faints at the sight of beauty. She also suffers from dyslexia. Her expressions are memorable. She deserves an Emmy nomination.

All of the episodes are excellent. Jeffrey Blitz is credited with penning four of the first eight. Almost each episode has been helmed by a different director. Astrof and Segal co-directed the first with Astrof doing the same for the second. Since then each episode has used a variety of directors. Both the execution of the writing and the directing are important because the story line is a continuation and the directing has to stay within a certain style.

Trial And Error doesn't have the highest ratings ever generated by a new series. That probably should have been expected. The episodes are not self contained, rather a continuing story line. It takes time for viewers to comprehend that they really should watch the show on a regular basis. The skill of this show may be above the comprehension level of some viewers. Most television sitcom viewers can't define a spoof or a farce and may not like those particular art forms. To enjoy this type of program you have to understand and appreciate the creative genius that those involved in the creating and acting possess in order to pull it off.

Some have compared Trial And Error to The Office and Parks and Recreation. I say don't compare it to anything. Just sit back and enjoy it.

Internationally, the series was acquired in Australia by the Seven Network.

Hopefully, NBC will renew the show.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN: BEN PLATT AND MICHAEL GREIF IN CONVERSATION takes place Sunday, April 16, at 92Y in New York City.

Actor Ben Platt and Tony Award nominated director Michael Greif will take part in a conversation about their groundbreaking and critically acclaimed show Dear Evan Hansen. Following its award-winning Off-Broadway run, Dear Evan Hansen has become one of Broadway’s biggest hits. The recently released original cast recording debuted at #8 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, one of only four cast albums to reach that chart’s Top 10 in the last 50 years.

With a book by Obie Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Tony Award nominees Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen officially opened to rave reviews on Broadway on December 4, 2016 at the Music Box Theatre.

Ben Platt currently stars as Evan Hansen in the celebrated Broadway musical after creating the role at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and at Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre. Platt was the original Elder Cunningham in the Chicago production of The Book of Mormon and reprised the role on Broadway. Director Michael Greif’s Broadway credits include: Dear Evan Hansen, Rent, Grey Gardens, Next to Normal, for which he received a Tony nominations; Never Gonna Dance and If/Then.

THE VISIBLE THEATER: THE ARTISTS WHO MAKE THE ONSTAGE MAGIC a new series of panel discussions with Broadway Historian/Producer Harvey Granat and Guests kicks off on April 19 with The Playwrights.

Guests will be: Doug Wright: War Paint, I Am My Own Wife (Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award), Grey Gardens, Disney's The Little Mermaid. Arthur Kopit: Nine, Oh Dad Poor Dad, Wings, Indians. Kimber Lee: Fight, Tokyo Fish Story, Brownsville Song, and Josh Harmon: Bad Jew, The Significant Other.

At 92Y in New York City.

CHINESE ALMOND COOKIE DAY is today, Sunday, April 9. Wednesday is National Licorice Day and National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Friday is National Pecan Day and Saturday is National Glazed Ham Day.




THE MUSIC GOES ROUND AND ROUND



DEBORAH COX: I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
has been released by Broadway Records and Deco Recording Group.

Cox is currently headlining as superstar Rachel Marron in a national tour of Bodyguard.

This CD is the perfect answer for people who listen to a soundtrack and repeatedly play their favorite tracks, having to take the time to click into the desired song.

Deborah Cox: I Will Always Love You contains the eight most requested songs from The Bodyguard. The arrangements and delivery are precisely what listeners desire. When a person wants to listen to a favorite song, they find comfort in the familiar. Only one song The Greatest Love of All has a new arrangement and it doesn't distract from the lyrics. For those who are fans of Cox, Bodyguard, love the songs, or any combination, this is your must have CD.

A drum beat controls the first number I've Every Woman written by Ashford and Simpson. The powerful I Have Nothing penned by David Foster and Linda Thompson is boldly dramatic, backed by the full contingent of musicians. All the Man I Need by Pitchford and Gore also has substantial musical backing as does the Merill and Rubican upbeat, bouncy I Wanna Dance With Somebody in which Cox does double duty as one of her own backup singers.

Run To You by Friedman and Rich is a tender plea for wanting to be loved, held and protected, with Cox backed by Daniel Moore on keyboard and strings. The song builds then softly concludes. The Greatest Love of All, an inspiring anthem by Masser and Creed has full orchestra backing. Jesus Loves Me by Anna Bartlett Warner is soft, reflective with the expected upbeat treatment. The CD closes with Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You, which is a perfect vehicle for showcasing Cox's beautiful voice. Mike Burton also has a nice sax solo segment.

Vocals recorded and produced by Lascelles Stephens for Deco Recording Group except for I'm Every Woman.

Engineer: Lascelles Stephens and Dee Brown. Songs mixed by Chris "Tex O'Ryan for Tekzenmusic. Encino, CA. Mastered by Colin Leonard for SING Mastering LLC. Atlanta, CA. Recorded a Decco Entertainment, Inc. FL and Patchwork Recording Studio , Atlanta, GA.

Musicians:
Keyboards: James "Big Jim" Wright
Keyboards and strings: Daniel Moore
Guitar: Jubu Smith, Chris Blackwell
Drums: Li' John Roberts
Drum programming/engineer: Jason Rome
Bass: Brandon Gillard
Bass Synthesizer: Derrieux Edgecombe
Percussion: Miguel A. Gaetan
Trumpets, Flugelhorns, Euphonium and trombones: Dontae Winslow
Saxophone: Ryan Kilgore, Mike Burton.
Background vocals: Deborah Cox, Sumayah Stephens and Kaila Stephens.

OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY



LAS VEGAS MGM HOTELS INCREASE PARKING FEES as of April 12, 2017. Free self parking became a thing of the past a year ago and now the MGM properties are raising the rates for both self and valet parking by as much as 39 per cent.

Valet rates:
At Aria, Bellagio and Vdara: fees jump from $18 for 24 hours to $25, a 39 percent increase. The new rates are $20 for up to four hours and $25 for four to 24 hours
At Mandalay Bay, Delano, MGM Grand, New York-New York, The Mirage and Excalibur: $15 for up to four hours and $20 for four to 24 hours
At Excalibur, Circus Circus, Luxor and Monte Carlo: $10 for up to four hours and $15 for four to 24 hours

Self-parking
No charge for the first hour at any property
At Aria, Bellagio and Vdara: $7 for one to two hours, $12 for two to four hours and $15 for four to 24 hours At Mandalay Bay, Delano, MGM Grand, New York-New York, The Mirage, Excalibur: $7 for one to two hours, $10 for two to four hours and $12 for four to 24 hours At Excalibur, Luxor, Monte Carlo: $5 for one to two hours, $8 for two to four hours and $10 for four to 24 hours No charge for self-parking at Circus Circus. Also good gamblers are entitled to park free.

ON MARCH 24 over 700 arts advocates from 46 states met with Members of Congress to discuss the importance of funding for the arts. Arts Action Fund members sent 109,000 messages to their Congressional Representatives.

Houston Theater District CEO Kathryn McNiel and other advocates from Texas met with every Texas congressional delegation to tell them how critical the arts are to our economy. In their release they stressed that:

4.8 million Americans go to work in Arts and Culture industries.

The Arts contribute $730 billion to our GDP - which is larger than the Construction, Transportation, and Travel & Tourism industries.

The Arts generate $22.3 billion in federal, state, and local government revenue.



THE AMERICAN THEATRE CRITICS ASSOCIATION has announced that Nate Eppler has won the 2017 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emerging playwright. The award was presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 8, 2017.

The Osborn Award recognizes Eppler’s The Ice Treatment, which was premiered in July, 2016, presented by Actors Bridge Ensemble in partnership with Nashville Repertory Theatre.

Eppler serves as playwright-in-residence for Nashville Repertory Theatre. He directs the Nashville Repertory Theatre Ingram New Works Project, a nationally recognized and locally valued program designed to cultivate the development of new plays for the stage.

In “The Ice Treatment,” Eppler takes an iconic pop culture moment and transforms it into an interrogation of the American dream as an ice skater writes her own story, regardless of the truth.

ATCA’s Osborn Award is designed to recognize the work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature. The award was established in 1993 to honor the memory of Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre play editor M. Elizabeth Osborn. It carries a $1,000 prize, funded by the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association.



INDECENT the newest work by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel which was created by . Vogel and Rebecca Taichman.

Directed by Rebecca Taichman.

"Indecent is about the love and passion to create theatre, even in the most difficult of circumstances. The play follows a troupe of actors, the cast of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance, who risked their lives and careers against enormous challenges to perform a work in which they deeply believed, at a time when art, freedom and truth were on trial. It is a story told with compassion, honesty, but also with great theatricality, and joyous songs and dances."

"The Broadway cast of i>Indecent has - not unlike the theater troupe depicted in the play itself - been performing the play together for more than two years: during its development with the Sundance Theater Institute and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, followed by productions at Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse and the Vineyard Theatre, where Indecent had its NYC debut last summer.

The ensemble features Matt Darriau, Lisa Gutkin, Aaron Halva, Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol and Adina Verson.

The production also features Zoë Aqua, Ben Cherry, Andrea Goss, Eleanor Reissa, Uri Sharlin and Doug Wieselman.

Music composed by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, who play onstage along with cast members throughout the show. The production is choreographed by David Dorfman. Scenic design is by Riccardo Hernandez; costume design is by Emily Rebholz; lighting design is by Christopher Akerlind; sound design is by Matt Hubbs and projection design is by Tal Yarden.

In previews, opening Tuesday, April 18th at the Cort Theatre in New York City.

PRESENT LAUGHTER comedy written by Noël Coward in 1939 and first staged in 1942.

Directed by Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel.

The play's title comes from a song in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, which urges carpe diem ("present mirth hath present laughter").

The plot follows a few days in the life of the successful and self-obsessed light comedy actor Garry Essendine as he prepares to travel for a touring commitment in Africa. Amid a series of events bordering on farce, Garry has to deal with women who want to seduce him, placate both his long-suffering secretary and his estranged wife, cope with a crazed young playwright, and overcome his impending mid-life crisis (since he has recently turned forty). The story was described by Coward as "a series of semi-autobiographical pyrotechnics".

Starring Academy Award and two-time Tony Award winner Kevin Kline, Tony and Emmy Award nominee Kate Burton, Tony Award nominee Kristine Nielsen, and Cobie Smulders, in her Broadway debut; joined by Bhavesh Patel, Tony Award nominee Reg Rogers, Matt Bittner, Ellen Harvey, Peter Francis James, Tedra Millan, and Sandra Shipley, with Kelley Curran, Rachel Pickup, James Riordan, and David L. Townsend.

The creative team for features set design by Tony Award winner David Zinn, costume design by Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by 2-time Tony Award nominee Justin Townsend, sound design by Fitz Patton, and hair design by Josh Marquette. Casting by Telsey + Company.

At the St. James Theater in New York City.

OSLO by J. T. Rogers.

Directed by Bartlett Sher.

A darkly comic epic, OSLO tells the true, but until now, untold story of how one young couple, Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul (Jennifer Ehle) and her husband social scientist Terje Rød-Larsen (Jefferson Mays), planned and orchestrated top-secret, high-level meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.

The original Off-Broadway cast returns to Lincoln Center Theater for this production. Joining Ehle and Mays are Michael Aronov, Anthony Azizi, Adam Dannheisser, Daniel Jenkins, Dariush Kashani, Jeb Kreager, Christopher McHale, Daniel Oreskes, Angela Pierce, Henny Russell, Joseph Siravo, and T. Ryder Smith.

Sets sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder, sound by Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, and projections by 59 Productions.

OSLO re-opens on Thursday, April 13 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York City after it’s sold out run last summer at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION by John Guare.

Directed by Trip Cullman.

This Broadway revival stars Allison Janney, John Benjamin Hickey and Corey Hawkins.

The cast also includes Jim Bracchitta as the Policeman, Tony Carlin as the Doorman, Michael Countryman as Larkin, James Cusati-Moyer as the Hustler, Ned Eisenberg as Dr. Fine, Lisa Emery as Kitty, Keenan Jolliff as Woody, Peter Mark Kendall as Rick, Cody Kostro as Doug, Sarah Mezzanotte as Elizabeth, Colby Minifie as Tess, Paul O’Brien as the Detective, Chris Perfetti as Trent, Ned Riseley as Ben and Michael Siberry as Geoffrey.

Inspired by a true story, the play follows the trail of a young con man, Paul (Hawkins), who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple, Ouisa and Flan Kittredge (Janney and Hickey), saying he knows their son at college. Claiming he’s the son of actor Sidney Poitier, Paul tells them he has just been mugged and all his money is gone. Captivated by Paul's intelligence (and the possibility of appearing in his father’s new movie), the Kittredges invite him to stay overnight. After finding him in bed with a hustler, their picture of Paul changes, and Ouisa and Flan turn detective trying to piece together the connections that gave him access to their lives. Meanwhile, Paul's cons unexpectedly lead him into darker territory as his lies begin to catch up with him.

The production features scenic design by Mark Wendland, costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Ben Stanton, sound design by Darron L West, projection design by Lucy Mackinnon, and hair & wig design by Charles LaPointe. Casting is by Daniel Swee.

In previews, Six Degrees of Separation opens Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at the Barrymore Theatre, New York City for a limited engagement through Sunday, July 16, 2017.

FREAKY FRIDAY book by Bridget Carpenter, music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, based on the novel by Mary Rodgers and Walt Disney motion pictures.

Directed by Christopher Ashley.

Starring Emma Hunton (Ellie) and Heidi Blickenstaff (Katherine).

With Jeannette Bayardelle, Tommy Bilczo, Eean Cochran, Joseph Dellger, Jessie Hooker, David Jennings, Storm Lever, Mary Jo McConnell, Jake Heston Miller, Holly Moss, Tony Neidenbach, Jennafer Newberry, Chris Ramirez, Julian Ramos, Jermaine R. Rembert, Alet Taylor, Jason SweetTooth Williams, and Sumi Yu.

When an overworked mother and her teenage daughter magically swap bodies, they have just one day to put things right again before mom’s big wedding. Freaky Friday, a new musical comedy based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and hit Disney films, is "a hilarious, contemporary update of an American classic in which a mother and daughter really see what it is to be a family and experience each other’s lives first-hand, if only for a day."

Howell Binkley (Lighting Designer) - Beowulf Boritt (Scenic Designer).

April 15 -May 20, 2017 in the Allen Theater at the Cleveland Playhouse in Cleveland, Ohio.

WHO'S WHERE





NEIL DIAMOND stars at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO on Wednesday, April 12. Friday finds him at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE. Next Sunday, April 16, his tour stops at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK.

MATTHEW AND GUNNER NELSON perform Wednesday, April 13 at Dick Clarks American Bandstand Theater in Branson, MO. On Thursday they are in the spotlight at the Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT. Friday finds them at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.

CHRIS ROCK opens a two night stand on Friday, April 14, at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, FL. Next Sunday, April 16, he tells funny stories at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, FL.

THE ROYAL CHORAL SOCIETY stages their annual performance of Handel's Messiah on Friday, April 14, at Royal Albert Hall in London.

GARRISON KEILLOR, JUST PASSING THROUGH the storyteller and humorist gives a solo performance sharing hilarious anecdotes about growing up in the American Midwest, the people of Lake Wobegon, and “late-life fatherhood Wednesday, April 12, 2017. at Atwood Concert Hall in Anchorage, Alaska.

FINAL OVATION



DON RICKLES Emmy award winning, iconic comedian noted for his nightclub insult humor died in California on April 6, 2017 from kidney failure. He was 90.

He was performing right up until his death. He had been schedule to perform on May 6 at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa and not feeling well, had just canceled that show. He had also been booked to perform at The Smith Center in Las Vegas on April 21. That date had recently been rescheduled for next February.

Intending to be a dramatic actor, he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Frustrated by a lack of acting work, Rickles began performing stand-up comedy in clubs in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. He became known as an insult comedian when he responded to his hecklers. The audience enjoyed these insults more than his prepared material, and he incorporated them into his act. When he began his career in the early 1950s, he started calling ill-mannered members of the audience "hockey puck[s]"

While working in a nightclub early in his career, he spotted Frank Sinatra and remarked to him, "I just saw your movie, The Pride and the Passion and I want to tell you, the cannon's acting was great." He added, "Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody!" Sinatra, whose pet name for Rickles was "bullet-head," enjoyed him so much that he encouraged other celebrities to see Rickles' act and be insulted by him. Sinatra's support helped Rickles become a popular headline performer in Las Vegas. During a Dean Martin Roast special, Rickles was among those who took part in a roast of Sinatra.

For decades Rickles was a major Las Vegas headliner. Years ago I was scheduled to interview Rickles in his dressing room a couple of hours prior to his dinner show performance. While driving to the Riviera Hotel, I stopped for a red light when my car was rear ended. Police responded to cite the driver of the car that hit me and make sure I wasn't hurt. Cell phones weren't widely available and, still in my car talking to the police, I missed the interview. When I finally showed up Rickles wanted to know what happened. I told him I had been rear ended. Suddenly there was a glint in his eye and a sly smile on his face.

He opened his act that night by explaining - at my expense - how he was stood up for an interview because I had been rear ended, failing to mention anything about an automobile. He implied something else. The audience couldn't stop laughing. Then he had me stand up so he could point out to the crowd that I wasn't "any of the worse for wear." That I hadn't been hurt and that "she probably got some money out of it."

Security had to join me in my booth and then escort me back stage so that the drunks in the audience didn't try to paw me.

I was mad and told Rickles' long time, devoted valet that I was offended and upset. He explained to me that Rickles had just paid me his highest possible compliment - by insulting me in his act. Furthermore, he had spent more time insulting me than he usually spent on one person and I should be flattered. I just needed to get to know the real Rickles.

He was right.

On stage Rickles was noted for being salty-tongued, while off stage he was both gentle and a gentleman.

An excellent dramatic actor, Rickles made his serious film debut in Run Silent, Run Deep with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. In 1970, Rickles had an important role as Crapgame in Kelly's Heroes, sharing the marquee poster with co-stars Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and Carroll O'Connor. In 1995, he played Billy Sherbert in Casino which was shot in Las Vegas.

On stage he appeared in a Los Angeles staging of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple,” playing Felix.

He is survived by his wife Barbara Sklar. and their daughter, Mindy. A son Larry Rickles died in 2011. Rickles is also survived by two grandchildren Ethan and Harrison Mann.

TIM PIGOTT-SMITH Tony Award nominee died on Friday, April 7, 2017 in Northampton, England. He was 70.

He was slated to headline a touring production of Death of a Salesman along with his wife, Pamela Miles, which was scheduled to begin performances April 10. The production had been delayed to permit Miles to recover from a broken bone.

Pigott-Smith began his acting career on the stage, where he eventually performed with the likes of Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart, and Judi Dench. He appeared in television series such as Downton Abbey, North & South, and Houdini.

His numerous UK stage credits include: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And The Tempest with Theatre Royal, Bath, King Lear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, an Olivier-nominanted turn in Enron, and Pygmalion at the Old Vic.

He frequently was cast in Shakespearean and Greek roles playing Posthumus in John Barton's 1974 production of Cymbeline for the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2011 he took the title role in King Lear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.

He made his Broadway debut in the 1974 revival of Sherlock Holmes. Pigott-Smith returned to the Main Stem in 1999’s The Iceman Cometh reprising his performance from the Almeida and the Old Vic productions. Recently, he played the title role in the play Charles III in both London in 2014 and on Broadway in 2015. He was nominated for both a Tony Award and an Olivier Award for portraying the current Prince Charles after he has ascended to the British throne. He reprized the role for a BBC TV movie adaptation due to be released this year.

He who won a British Academy Television Award in 1985 for his leading role in The Jewel in the Crown.

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to drama.

Pigott-Smith is survived by his wife, Pamela Miles, and his son, Tom Pigott-Smith.

IKUTARO KAKEHASHI an engineer, an entrepreneur, and the founder of Ace Tone, Roland Corporation and ATV Corporation, Japanese manufacturers of electronic musical instruments died April 1, 2017. He was 87.

He was man behind the synthesizer and drum machines that revolutionized electronic music in the 1980s and 90s. His Roland TR-808, drum machine transformed contemporary music.

He partnered with Dave Smith to develop MIDI, the Musical Instrument Digital Interface that allows the vast majority of electronic instruments built since the early 1980s to interconnect.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Ikutaro Kakehashi was a progressive audio engineer who spearheaded an entire movement in electronic music. As an entrepreneur and dedicated music innovator, he founded the Roland Corporation in 1972, where he helped develop groundbreaking synthesizers and drum machines, including the iconic Roland TR-808, a hip-hop and electronic music staple. He earned a Technical Grammy Award for 2013 for his contributions to the development of MIDI technology, and later founded the ATV Corporation in 2014, where his legacy lives on. Our deepest condolences go out to Ikutaro's family, friends, and creative collaborators."

RYAN NUNEZ a member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus died onstage during intermission of a performance Friday night, March 31, 2017. He was 39.

Nunez was a singer and an administrative coordinator for the chorus since 2014. He was performing in a production of Paradise Found at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco when he collapsed on one of the risers and suddenly died, Tim Seelig, the artist director and conductor of the chorus, posted on Facebook.

"He was our voice to the world. Filled with humor and huge hugs for all - he just took care of everyone," the group said on Facebook.

Chorus members and paramedics performed CPR for an hour before Nunez was pronounced dead. The chorus canceled the remainder of the show Friday, but continued its performances Saturday in honor of Nunez, Seelig wrote.

PAUL O'NEILL founding member of the famed Trans-Siberian Orchestra Wednesday night, April 5, 2017. He was 61 and had suffered from a chronic illness.

The personable O'Neill insisted the TSO musicians meet the audience and sign autographs after the concerts.

O'Neill was a composer, producer and conceptualist. . During the 80s O'Neill was a concert promoter in Japan, promoting arena shows and festivals.

TSO has released eight mostly conceptual albums, - including three full-length Christmas-themed works and an EP. Four of the group's titles are certified platinum.

TSO also established itself as a holiday tradition on the road, sending to companies out to criss-cross North American for two months leading up to and just after Christmas. With O'Neill insisting on affordably priced tickets, the shows were spectacles featuring large ensembles and the latest technology and, again at O'Neill's insistance, open sight lines.

O'Neill was working on several projects at the time of his death, both intended for Broadway - Romanov: What Kings Must Whisper, a rock opera about the Russia's Bolshevik Revolution in 1918, and an expanded, rewritten version of Savatage's Gutter Ballet.

O'Neill is survived by his wife and their daughter.



















Next Column: April 16, 2017
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Laura Deni

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