Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: August 14, 2016
By: Laura Deni


Robert Redford, who turns 80 on August 18, plays Mr. Meacham, an old wood carver who delights local children with tales of a fierce dragon that resides deep in the wood nearby in Disney's Pete's Dragon. Photo: Matt Klitscher / Disney Enterprises
During the filming of a reimagining of the 1977 Disney classic, Pete’s Dragon the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon - the Forest Lodge Hotel in New Zealand sold more bottles of Moet & Chandon in one night than they would in a year.

20 million CGI hairs were created for Elliot - 20 times more than for King Kong.

Directed by David Lowery, the film stars Oscar winner Robert Redford as Mr. Meacham, a woodcarver who delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. His daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) believes.

The cast features rising young star Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, New Zealander Karl Urban, and Oona Laurence.

The production was filmed in New Zealand over four months in 2015, on a $60,000,000 budget.

100% filmed in New Zealand with 74 days of principal filming. The 1040 crew included 810 New Zealanders. The 40 person cast included 31 New Zealanders. Pete’s Dragon is the first feature film to successfully secure the 5% uplift of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.

Apparently it wasn't difficult to transform New Zealand into America.

Most people think the gigantic California Redwoods are located in California - which they are. How many know that there is also a California Redwood Forest in Rotorus, New Zeland promoted as "home to soaring Californian Redwoods, which made it the perfect double for America." The forest scenes for Pete's Dragon were shot there.

Three days was also spent filming in a house on the outskirts of Rotorua (Ngongotaha) with the cast and crew based largely in Rotorua.

If you happen to visit the location there is a new Redwoods Treewalk which takes hikers high above ground to stroll among the giants. The walk is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and consists of a series of 23 suspension bridges traversing the gaps between 22 majestic 110-year-old redwood trees, 40-feet high above the ground.

An American flag turned Tapanui's main street into an American small town for the filming of Pete's Dragon. Image: Pure New Zealand.
For a filming duration of 4-5 weeks, the small, South Island town of Tapanui - population of 900 - was transformed into the town of Millhaven, Douglas County (located somewhere in the US state of Oregon).

Hosting an American flag wasn't hard.

Filming took place in and around Tapanui and at Conical Hill sawmill. Tapanui’s main street was closed off for a week for filming.

There was limited accommodation and many local residents leased their homes to the movie production company. Approximately 55 houses were made available, resulting in some unexpected income for the locals.

The local pub closed its 120-seat restaurant and turned it into the wardrobe department.

The Licensing Trust which controls the Forest Lodge Hotel said in the month of production their revenue increased by NZ$100,000. They sold more bottles of Moet & Chandon in one night than they would in a year.

Tapanui is renowned for its incredible fishing in rivers brimming with brown trout and salmon. The Pomahaka River offers world class fishing with some of the biggest brown trout to be found anywhere in the world. Reportedly, some of the crew spend their off hours trying to catch a few. No mention as to wheather they fished while drinking Moet & Chandon.

Production for Disney's Pete’s Dragon began at Stone Street Studios in Miramar, Wellington’s film industry hub.

Nearby Weta Digital, the visual effects company founded by filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor, has been responsible for the latest digital effects bringing to life Elliot the dragon.

Initial sketches and concepts began in 2014. 150 WETA Digital staff were involved. 20 million CGI hairs were created for Elliot which are 20 times more than King Kong. Most shots took two days to render.

Weta Digital is part of a neighborhood of creative companies including Weta Workshop, Park Road Post Production, Stone Street Studios and Portsmouth Rentals which are powerhouse players in attracting the movie industry to the Kiwi country.

Weta Digital is a five-time Academy Award winning visual effects facility.

Tourists can experience the Weta Cave Workshop Tour. Image: Pure New Zealand
In addition to Pete's Dragon since April 2016 projects have included The Jungle Book directed by Jon Favreau, Central Intelligence directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, Independence Day: Resurgence directed by Roland Emmerich, The BFG directed by Steven Spielberg, Spectral directed by Nic Mathieu, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 directed by James Gunn with an opening date of May 2, 2017, War for the Planet of the Apes directed by Matt Reeves expected to be released on July 14, 2017 and Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets directed by Luc Besson with a 2017 release.

Tourists can experience the Weta Cave Workshop Tour. Visitors can go on behind-the-scenes to see artists at work, examine authentic movie props, try on prosthetics, create their own fake blood or realistic chainmaille. This space is filled with exclusive props and costumes not normally shown to the public and a guide takes visitors through the creative processes they use to make cool stuff.

Mt Victoria, a 10 minute drive from Miramar - was used to film several of the forest scenes in Disney's Pete's Dragon. The prominent tree-covered city landmark offers sweeping views across Wellington and is a favorite picnic spot and leisure destination for locals and tourists.

Wellington is known as the national center of arts, coffee and craft beer.

Just 30 minutes out of Wellington is Battle Hill Farm Park, which is where Pete makes the leap off a cliff only to land on Elliot’s back. The Battle Hill Farm Park is home to cycle trails and mountain bike tracks. The park is a popular spot for walkers and there are designated camping areas so you can stay overnight right in the heart of the film location.

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The Museum of Tomorrow. Image: Museum of Tomorrow Rio de Janeiro
in Rio de Janeiro has had over 800,000 visitors since it opened in December, 2015. Hopefully there has been some Olympic slop over as Olympic visitors look for other things to do besides eat, drink and cheer on their favorites teams.

The $55 million Museum of Tomorrow was designed by world-renowned architect, engineer and artist, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is the centerpiece of a renovation of Rio’s derelict port area.

Calatrava's 2001 expansion of the Milwaukee Art Museum is internationally regarded as putting the Midwestern city on the map for arts and culture.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff inaugurated the new science museum, declaring it “beautiful” and “innovative” and declaring that it will become a top destination in Rio.

Inspired by the natural landscape of the country, the two-story museum features a cantilevered roof and façade with moving elements that extends almost to the full length of the pier, emphasizing the extension into the bay, while minimizing the building’s width. The design incorporates a continuous strip of landscape along the southern length of the pier adding to the effect of the museum floating on top of the natural setting.

Calatrava was commissioned to design the sustainably-focused museum, as part of the ambitious Marvelous Port urban design project, which intends to transform Rio’s historical waterfront into a thriving cultural and residential community. Located on the highly prominent Pier Maua, the museum is an integral part of the urban revitalization commitment.

Museum of Tomorrow examines the past, considers current trends, and explores future scenarios for the next 50 years, approached from a perspective of sustainability and conviviality. Visitors are encouraged to reflect on the Anthropocene era - the geologic era in which we live, when man began to alter the climate, degrade biomes and interfere with ecosystems – and on their own role as part of human action and its transforming power.

Content was developed by over 30 renowned consultants from a range of fields from Brazil and abroad. It is updated regularly, with data and scientific analyses from institutions around the world. The experiential exhibits were developed by a group of artists and producers, led by creative director Andres Clerici, including O2 and Conspiração, journalist Marcelo Tas and American artist Daniel Wurtzel, all invited by the Roberto Marinho Foundation.

Six major trends of the next half-century are explored: climate changes; changes in biodiversity; growing population and increased life span; greater cultural integration and differentiation; advances in technology; and expanded knowledge.

Activities, including courses and guided tours, engage visitors of all ages.

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1974, Anodized aluminum and brass, 5 1/8 x 75 x 5 in. Photo: Guild Hall.
The entire Guild Hall Museum is dedicated to the Minimalism movement and works associated with this aesthetic which investigates, for the first time on the East End, the importance and range of Minimalism and its influence on art through works of the leading artists associated with this prominent movement, such as Larry Bell, Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, and Agnes Martin, along with work influenced by the Minimalist aesthetic including Josef Albers, Blinky Palermo, Joseph Beuys, On Kawara, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley, Edward Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Whiteread.

Many of the works are on public view for the first time.

Opened Saturday, August 13 and is on display through Monday, October 10 at Guild Hall, East Hampton, NY.

Yesterday afternoon a Keynote Lecture took place with Leonard Riggio speaking on on Philanthropy, Collecting and Minimalism. Riggio is the founder of Barnes & Noble, the country's largest bricks-and-mortar bookstore chain. He is noted for his interest in social justice and human rights.


PETER PAN IN CONCERT Transport Group’s benefit concert of the classic 1954 Comden & Green/Charlap & Leigh musical, Peter Pan will be hosted by drag legend, Tony-nominated playwright, and Golden Age aficionado Charles Busch.

The evening features a cast that includes three-time Tony nominee Carolee Carmello, Drama Desk nominee Rachel Bay Jones, Hannah Elless, Ann Harada, three-time Tony nominee Marc Kudisch, Tony nominee Tony Sheldon, Paul Slade Smith, Drama Desk nominee Elizabeth Stanley, Betsy Morgan, Alexandra Silber, D.C. Anderson, OBIE Winner David Greenspan, Ivory McKay, Doug Shapiro, Tim Dolan, Patrick Boll, and Richard Costa. The Darling children will be played by Zoe Willson as Wendy, Ashton Woerz as John, and Jeremy T. Villas as Michael. The Lost Boys will feature cast members of Matilda, including Gavin Swartz, Ian Seraceni, Noah Baird, Meliki Hurd, Cole Edelstein, and Evan Gray.

Also joining the cast are Karli Dinardo, Kelly Berman, Jace Coronado, William Dehorney, Kelly Felthous, Jon Drake, Lindsey Hailes, Becky Grace Kalman, Taylor Markarian, and Jake Weinstein.

Directed by Five-time Drama Desk Nominee Jack Cummings III, the evening will also feature a song cut from the original score orchestrated by Michael Starobin and choreography by Jeffry Denman. Joey Chancey will conduct the 26-piece orchestra, featuring orchestrations from the original production.

Peter Pan In Concert is the first production in Transport Group’s Anne L. Bernstein Concert Series.

Transport Group’s Peter Pan In Concert takes place Monday, August 15, at the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center, New York City.


Long before the puppets in Avenue Q engaged in consensual sex, there was a musical puppet show Les Poupees de Paris created, produced and directed by Sid and Marty Krofft for the 1964's World Fair. It toured the United States throughout the 1960s but was considered too risque to air on television.

The RCA album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording – Special or Novel Effects, but it lost out to The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits.

Masterworks Broadway has now taken the all-star soundtrack and officially re-released it for the first time on CD-R and DD.

Fantastic listen of a revue with spoken parts easily understood. The cast is even clearly and distinctively introduced in the first number. This revue's musical numbers touched all bases, ranging from seriously good, such as the Pearl Bailey's selections to comedic i.e. the The Opera Singer and It's a Living; or risqué for that time as in The Bathtub Scene.

You can almost visualize the acts on stage. This is a well hidden treasure which deserved to be unearthed.

While the CD is for listening, it is helpful to know that many of the puppets were modeled after celebrities including Milton Berle, Cyd Charisse, Gene Kelly, Liberace, Jayne Mansfield, Elvis Presley, Tony Martin, Phil Silvers, Loretta Young, Mae West, whose puppet appeared topless, and Pearl Bailey whose puppet wore $15,000 worth of chinchilla.

Considered an extremely naughty show for its time, the production was immortalized in an original cast recording, set to a soundtrack provided by songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and the voices of Bing Crosby and Friends (Frank Sinatra), Pearl Bailey, Milton Berle, Cyd Charisse, Annie Fargé, Gene Kelly, Jane Kean, Liberace, Jayne Mansfield, Tony Martin, Lance Legault, Janine Forman, Crista Speck, Joey Forman, Guy Marks, Phil Silvers, Loretta Young, Edie Adams, Merry Williams and her Boys, and legendary voiceover artist Paul Frees. Pop Com, Cotton Candy and the Balloons are also listed on the closer.

The entire production is downright entertaining.

You don't need to see the puppets to be totally captivated by the musical numbers. However, hearing the voices of the stars makes this CD especially enjoyable because it's easier to create your own visualize of their puppet.

Many of the individual selections on their own are enough to warrant purchasing this CD including; the Frank Sinatra segment, anything Pearl Bailey, and the hilarious It's a Living in which Jayne Mansfield and Liberace sing about "crying all the way to the bank".

The back story of how this production came to be and how the Rev. Billy Graham's criticism helped make it a hit are interesting sidelights.

The Las Vega connection is significant.

Puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft had a successful career on stages in America and Europe throughout the 1950s. Much in the early bios of the Krofft brothers was press agent spin.. About the decade ago the brothers tried to correct some of the misconceptions.

At age 15 Sid joined the Ringling Brothers circus as a puppeteer and proved so adept that he would go on to tour with the Andrews Sisters, Cyd Charisse and for a year and a half as Judy Garland's opening act, including shows at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas which is where he met a man named Nat Hart who began his Las Vegas career as a maitre d at the Flamingo. Hart had become a fan of the Krofft during his numerous gigs with Judy Garland. Hart always had a keen business eye and knew how to meld food to entertainment, garnished with promotion.

One morning Sid Krofft awoke with the idea to create a show with his marionettes for adults only, complete with music, comedy, horror, celebrities and topless puppets.

Hart liked the project.

If it hadn't been for Hart Les Poupees de Paris might not have been such a success.

Hart (1916-1995) was one of Las Vegas, Nevada’s original celebrity chefs, having trained as a chef at the Le Pointe School of Cuisine in Paris, France and the Lucerne Food Service School in Switzerland. He also studied under top chefs at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and the original Alfredo in Rome, Italy. Before he moved to Las Vegas in 1949, Hart co-owned a restaurant in Florida with his wife Sylvia. He began well-known for his restaurants at Caesars Palace and the Desert Inn, and for his popular gourmet cooking school.

He had an passion for opening new restaurants and for decades served as worldwide industry consultant.

Although Hart didn't produce the show, he pulled the Krofft's strings in getting the production to Hollywood where opening night Shirley MacLaine, Mae West, Liberace, Hedda Hopper, Loretta Young and Presidential candidate Richard Nixon were in attendance with Walter Winchell who flew in to cover the event.

The show was a local runaway hit, selling out for a year in advance. That prompted the Krofft brothers to open a second company in 1962 in a specially built revolving theater at the Seattle World’s Fair.

The lavish production cost $200,000 to produce; the elaborate sets took three months to install and included a revolving theatre, elevators, an ice-skating rink and a 20-foot waterfall.

From there the show was mounted at the New York World's Fair running from 1964-1965. At the beginning this sparkling French inspired musical revue had a cast of 240 puppets, some miniature, some nearly life-sized. Admission was $2.50 for adults with even children under 12 being admitted to the naughty, one hour revue for a charge of $1.25. There were four shows daily; five on weekends. By 1965 the price had dropped to $1.00 with continuous 40-minute performances from noon to midnight.

The production then moved to the San Antonio HemisFair in 1968. The show traveled around the country for the remainder of the decade and was seen by an estimated nine and a half million people.

Comments by the Rev Billy Graham only added to the box office and brought the show worldwide attention.

After Graham attended the opening at the fair, the popular conservative evangelist excitedly told the press, ‘Don’t go see a show called Les Póupées De Paris because the women don’t wear bras!’ Rev. Graham failed to mention that all of the “women” were puppets.

People flocked to see the show.

The show enjoyed a successful two year run in Las Vegas. Each show had a cast of 250 puppets and the production was then bigger than three Broadway musicals combined. There were as least 24 puppeteers.

In an interesting coincidence, the movie Florence Foster Jenkins has just been released, while this CD contains the multi-talented Edie Adams singing a tribute to Florence Foster Jenkins called The Opera Singer.
While the show no longer exists, the next best thing is this Masterworks Broadway CD release with stellar arrangements, orchestrations, performed by the creme of musicians. It's really timeless, from a salute to horror movies to channeling opera wannabe Florence Foster Jenkins. Other numbers will have you visualizing Flo Ziegfeld and Busby Berkeley showgirls production numbers.

The eighteen sketches featured on this release are divided into nine segments opening with a rousing Overture in which a hint of a vaudeville raspberry horn leading into a smooth, yet vibrant section indicates that all bases are covered. A rompin' good time lies ahead. The CD ends with The Circus. The first few lines of the French accent Bonsoir gives a nod to The Lido and Folies Bergere which were the inspiration for this creation. In between you'll hear a charming Gene Kelly in Segment Two singing Don't Say Paris, Say Paree, and Bing Crosby and Friends - that's Frank Sinatra who is only called by his first name and delivers some risque lines and sexiest jokes. That segment also includes Janine Forman and Crista Speck who perform The Bathtub Scene.

The horn sections as the backbone for Louis Belson arrangements on You Can't Make It Anywhere and Love is a Bore for Pearl Bailey are awesome. Bailey would later incorporate both standout numbers into her Las Vegas shows.

The comedic and lengthy tribute to the horror genre A Night of Horror: Let’s Be Frank Mr. Frankenstein has comedians Joey Forman as Bela Lugosi and Guy Marks cast as Boris Karloff. Loretta Young takes a spin in The Lab, while The Mad Doctor and the Creature are brought to life by Paul Frees in his many characterizations. The sassy and fully orchestrated I Can't Wait to Take You Home is delivered by Milton Berle and Jane Kean while The Kook Spooks is a skeleton dance.

The segment called The Opera Singer couldn't be timelier. Performed by Edie Adams, it's about the unusual Florence Foster Jenkins, the New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. A movie about the quirky career of Florence Foster Jenkins has just opened starring Merle Streep, Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg.

The melodious chorus performing The Ice Skater (On the Wings of Romance) is beautiful - the type of number Flo Ziegfeld and Busby Berkeley would have staged as a showgirl production number.

A rumbustious Sadie Fats leads into a short reprise of Love is a Bore followed by the three ring production number closer Circus, with Phil Silvers as the Barker.

A wonderfully entertaining CD which makes me wish I'd be able to see the revue.

Recording engineer John Norman. Recorded at RCA Victor's Music Center of the World, Hollywood, CA. Mastering engineer Andreas Meyer, Meyer Media, LLC. Orchestrations Joe Reisman, Wayne Robinson. Pearl Bailey's arrangements by Louis Bellson. Cover and Photo by Mario Casilli. Original album released 1964.


Dame Eileen Atkin, a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame, who is currently seen on American PBS stations as Aunt Ruth in the hit series Doc Martin, will perform her one woman show about actress Ellen Terry.
presents performances by The Lord Chamberlain's Men, The Oxford Shakespeare Company and award-winning actress Dame Eileen Atkins, in the magnificent setting of the Castle's Waterloo Chamber.

On August 16-17 The Lord Chamberlain's Men Theatre Company stages their touring production of Much Ado About Nothing. This lively re-telling of the famous love story is performed by an all-male troupe in full Elizabethan costume.

On August 18 award-winning actress and screenwriter Eileen Atkins presents Ellen Terry with Eileen Atkins, a dazzling dramatization of lectures by Ellen Terry, one of the finest Shakespearean actresses of the Victorian period.

The Oxford Shakespeare Company present Love's Labour's Lost on August 19-29. This version of one of Shakespeare's earliest comedies is inspired by the glam rock, punk and new wave era of the 1970s, and includes live music composed specially for the production.

On August 18–20 and 25–27 families can enjoy an immersive, specially adapted evening performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Castle's Moat Garden, presented by Watch Your Head. Actors and musicians will transform the Garden into a world of warring kings and queens and star crossed lovers in this popular ethereal comedy.

BILLBOARD HOT 100 FESTIVAL which broke attendance records last year by bringing more than 40,000 to Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in one weekend, will return to the venue on August 20 and 21.

The festival is produced by Billboard and Live Nation.

There will be three stages, including one on the beach outside the usual Jones Beach theater grounds.

NEW PLAY READING from Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings program celebrates its 15th anniversary with readings of two new plays about families dealing with contemporary issues that hit home in unexpected ways. Admission is free. The first reading takes place Sunday, August 21.

Bury Me by Brynne Frauenhoffer, directed by Miranda Stewart. The working class town of Pacific, Missouri is the setting for this story of unplanned consequences, where seemingly random events reveal very different perspectives of faith, destiny, life choices and women’s bodies as battle-grounds.

The reading takes place at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, CA.

AUGUST 15 is Lemon Meringue Pie Day and August 16 is National Rum Day.

MICHAEL G. MURPHY MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE OLD GLOBE IN SAN DIEGO will depart to assume an appointment as the President and CEO of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, New York. The Globe congratulates him on this new position, where he will replace Anthony Conte, retiring after 15 years at the helm. Murphy will leave the Globe on September 26, 2016, and take over his new leadership role in the first week of October, 2016.

Vicki L. Zeiger, Chair of the Globe’s Board of Directors, commented, “The Board is sorry to see the very talented Michael go, but at the same time we are so proud and happy about the tremendous career opportunity he is embarking upon as President and CEO of Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Michael has done extraordinary work over the thirteen years he has been with the theatre helping to take it to the level it is today."

Zeiger added “The Executive Committee of the Board met immediately to develop a plan to find his replacement, and Senior Management is developing a transition plan until that replacement can be named.”

BOTANICUM SEEDLINGS Theatricum Botanicum's development series for playwrights, has announced the recipient of the 6th annual “Izzy” Award for new plays. The winning play, The Last Nights of Scheherazade by Paula Cizmar, was presented last summer as a private, developmental ‘GreenRead.’

The Last Nights of Scheherazade, set at the edge of the Mojave desert, is the story of a modern-day Scheherazade – a young woman who retreats into storytelling to survive a violent marriage.

Cizmar’s plays have been produced at Playwrights Arena at the LATC, the Women’s Project, the Jungle Theatre (Minneapolis), San Diego Rep and Portland Stage, among other venues. She is currently an Associate Professor of Playwriting at USC.

Named for Theatricum's first dramaturg, Israel Baran, who passed away in 2007, the Izzy recognizes the Seedlings play that “speaks to us the loudest” - in honor of Israel's keen mind, sharp tongue and ear for language (despite the fact that he was frustratingly deaf).


FINDING NEVERLAND at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City sails off on August 21, 2016 for a First National U.S. Tour and forthcoming 2017 West End production on August 21, 2016.

Finding Neverland opened on Broadway on April 15, 2015 and upon its August 21 closing will have played 33 previews and 565 performances.

PARALLEL LIVES written by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy.

Directed by Jenny Sullivan.

Starring Crista Flanagan and Alice Hunter.

A pair of capricious supreme beings orchestrate a hilarious montage that makes fun of modern life while celebrating it. With boundless humor, the audience is whisked through this outrageous universe created by comediennes Kathy & Mo, where two women portray numerous men and women struggling though the common rituals of life.

August 17 - September 18, 2016 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, CA.

SHREK THE MUSICAL Author and Lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire. Composer Jeanine Tesori.

Director/Choreographer Chase Todd.

Music Director Billy Payne.

Based on the award-winning DreamWorks animation film, the musical is hilarious fun for the whole family. Join our unlikely hero and his loyal steed, Donkey, as they embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from a fire breathing, love-sick dragon.

Featuring all new songs as well as the cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer, the show brings all the much-loved characters to life.

Set in a mythical “once upon a time” sort of land, Shrek The Musical is the story of a hulking green ogre who, after being mocked and feared his entire life, retreats to an unsightly green swamp to exist in happy isolation. Suddenly, a gang of homeless fairy-tale characters (Pinocchio, Cinderella, the Three Pigs, you name it) raid his sanctuary, saying they’ve been evicted by the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad. So Shrek strikes a deal: “I’ll get your homes back, if you leave me in peace.” But when Shrek and Farquaad meet, the Lord strikes a deal of his own: He’ll give the fairy-tale characters their homes back, if Shrek rescues Princess Fiona. This is, where they say, the plot thickens. Happily, there’s more to this story than meets the ears. Shrek The Musical, with its positive message about acceptance and non-conformity, is a must-see show for all the family.

Ryan Everett Wood stars as Shrek, Randi Garza portrays the feisty Princess Fiona. Quentin Avery Brown is in the role of the effervescent Donkey. Vatican Lokey stars as the diminutive Lord Farquaad.

The talented cast includes Jordan Balkwill, Kylie Blank, Amanda Bonilla, Jared Brodie, Chase Davidson, Brittany Ellis, Kayce Grogan-Wallace, Bonnie Harris, Joe Harris, AJ Klopach, Nathan Lubeck, Marcie Millard, Hayley Platt, Tyler Sarkis, Jordan Snead, Austin Tijerina, Mabel Tyler, and Kiersten Wallace.

The creative team for Shrek The Musical includes Scenic Designer Tom Buderwitz, Costume Designer Kathryn Bergh, Lighting Designer Brian D. Frey, Hair and Wig Designer George Deavours, Production Manager and Sound Designer Daniel Pattillo, and Production Stage Manager Liz Campbell.

Presented by the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, the all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza. Shrek The Musical will run from August 19 – September 4 at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre in Marietta, GA Atlanta Lyric Theatre is celebrating 37 years as the Atlanta area’s only local professional musical theatre company. The Lyric is dedicated to producing the best in musical theatre and fostering the growth of the Atlanta theatrical community.

LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST by William Shakespeare.

Directed by Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall who will be making her Old Globe directing debut.

William Shakespeare’s unabashed celebration of innocence, idealism, and the sweet folly of young love. The King of Navarre and his three schoolmates vow to embrace their studies - and not embrace girls - for three whole years. But the instant they take that vow, the Princess of France arrives with her three beautiful attendants, and all bets are off.

Love’s Labor’s Lost features Tony nominee Pascale Armand as Rosaline, Kevin Cahoon as Boyet, Kieran Campion as Berowne, Kristen Connolly as Princess of France, Greg Hildreth as Costard, Patrick Kerr as Sir Nathaniel, Jonny Orsini as Ferdinand, King of Navarre, Triney Sandoval as Don Adriano de Armado, and two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Spinella as Holofernes.

Joining them are actors from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, including James Amara Aja as Dumaine, Amy Blackman as Maria, Ally Carey as Ensemble, Ajinkya Desai as Lord, Talley Beth Gale as Katherine, Kevin Hafso-Koppman as Forester, Lorenzo Landini as Marcadé, Makha Mthembu as Jaquenetta, Jake Millgard as Dull, Christina A. Okolo as Ensemble, Suzelle Palacios as Ensemble, Daniel Petzold as Moth, and Nathan Whitmer as Longaville.

The creative team is comprised of John Lee Beatty (Scenic Design), Michael Krass (Costume Design), Jason Lyons (Lighting Design), Sten Severson (Sound Design), Peter Golub (Original Music), Taylor Peckham (Music Director), Ursula Meyer (Voice and Text Coach), Jim Carnahan, CSA (Casting), and Pamela Salling (Production Stage Manager).

Performances begin tonight, August 14, and continue through September 18. in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA.

DRAMA QUEENS FROM HELL by Emmy Award winner Peter Lefcourt.

Directed by Terri Hanauer.

Starring Chad Borden, (Ms.) Christopher Callen, Andrew Diego, Dee Freeman, Paul Galliano, Rick Podell.

A washed-up TV actress, a former Blaxploitation movie bit player and a pre-op transgender woman compete for the role of Norma Desmond in a remake of Sunset Boulevard.

A farce that skewers Hollywood, ageism, political correctness and everything else in its path, Drama Queens is the answer for anyone seeking a laugh-out-loud, escapist night on the town. These three divas will stop at nothing “to get arrested” - absolutely nothing.

The creative team includes set designer Pete Hickok; lighting designer Donny Jackson; sound designer Dino Herrmann; projection designer Yee Eun Nam; costume designer Mylette Nora; graphic designer Nancy Nimoy; and casting director Michael Donovan. The production stage manager is Rita Cofield.

Drama Queens from Hell opens for press on August 20 and continues through September 25 as a visiting production at The Odyssey Theatre, West Los Angeles.


JOSH GROBAN WITH SARAH McLACHLIN he the multi-platinum selling recording artist and she the three time Grammy winner - share the bill August 16 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO.

PAUL ANKA sings his hits Friday, August 19, at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY. On Sunday, August 21, he can be enjoyed at Caesars in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA WITH WYNTON MARSALIS performs Friday, August 19 at the Filene Centerat Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA. On Saturday they'll be performing at the Skaneateles Featival at Anvela's Vineyards in Skaneateles, NY.

BRIAN WILSON stars Tuesday, August 16, at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center in Bowling Green, KY. On Thursday he's on stage at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, NC. Friday's show is at the Duke Energy Center in Raleigh, NC. On Saturday he'll be performing at Elmwood Park in Roanoke, VA.

JEFF BECK AND BUDDY GUY entertain Tuesday, August 16, at the Masonic Hall in San Francisco. On Wednesday the double bill is at the Luther Burbank for the Arts in Santa Rosa, CA. Thursday finds them at the Rancheria Casino in Jackson, CA. On Saturday they can be enjoyed at the Maryhill Winery Amphitheater in Goldendale, WA.


PETE FOUNTAIN was an American clarinetist based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fountain's clarinet work was noted for his sweet fluid tone. He died in New Orleans on August 6, 2016. He had been in hospice care. He was 86.

He recorded over 100 LPs and CDs under his own name, some in the Dixieland style, many others with only peripheral relevance to any type of jazz.

As a child, young Pete was very sickly, frequently battling respiratory infections due to weakened lungs. He was given expensive medication but it proved to be not very effective. During a pharmacy visit, Pete's father began a discussion with a neighborhood doctor who was also there shopping and talked with him about his son's condition. The doctor agreed to see the boy the following day. After a short exam, the doctor confirmed the weak lung condition and advised the father to try an unorthodox treatment: purchase the child a musical instrument, anything he has to blow into. The same day, they went to a local music store and, given his choice of instruments, Pete chose the clarinet (after first wanting the drums, which his father declined per the doctor's orders). At first, Pete was unable to produce a sound from the instrument, but he continued to practice and eventually not only made sounds and eventually music, but greatly improved the health of his lungs.

He first gained national fame as part of the Lawrence Welk orchestra and became well known for his many solos on Welk's ABC television show, The Lawrence Welk Show. Fountain was rumored to have quit when Welk refused to let him "jazz up" the Christmas carol Silver Bells on the 1958 Christmas show. Fountain was hired by Decca Records A&R head Charles "Bud" Dant and went on to produce 42 hit albums with Dant. After Welk's death, Fountain would occasionally join with the Welk musical family for reunion shows.

His recording of the hymn Just a Closer Walk With Thee sold 500,000 copies when it was released in 1959, and several of his nearly 100 albums became gold records.

He appeared nearly 40 times at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and was a guest on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show more than 50 times. He performed at five White House state dinners and before Pope John Paul II during a 1987 papal visit to New Orleans.

It was while performing in Las Vegas that he decided to get rid of the toupee he wore His bald pate became part of his persona

In 1962. Fountain returned to New Orleans, played with The Dukes of Dixieland, then began leading bands under his own name. He owned his own club in the French Quarter in the 1960s and 1970s. He later acquired "Pete Fountain's Jazz Club" at the Riverside Hilton in downtown New Orleans.

He underwent heart surgery in 2006.

His final public performance came in 2013 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, the former Beverly Lang; three children; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

RICCI MARTIN the youngest son of famed entertainer Dean Martin was found dead at his Utah home on Wednesday, August 3, 2016. He was 62.

His death was first reported by Variety. The Martin was a musician and performer.

During the 1970s Martin enjoyed considerable success, releasing a collaborative album called Beached with Beach Boys member Carl Wilson.

Two decades later, he entertained audiences alongside musicians Desie Arnaz Jr. and Billy Hinsche performed at the MGM Grand hotel and other Las Vegas venues. In joining that band, he filled a spot previously occupied by his older brother Dean Paul Martin, who was killed in 1987 in a military plane crash. The elder Martin never emotionally recovered from that event.

Martin spent recent years on tour, performing tribute shows to his legendary father.

Ricci Martin was divorced, and was one of Dean Martin's seven children. He is survived by his three daughters, his mother, four sisters and an older brother.

PADRAIG DUGGAN founding member of the famous Celtic folk group Challad, died peacefully in a Dublin, Ireland hospital on Tuesday morning August 8, 2016. He had suffered from a recurring illness. He was 67.

Taking their name from the Gaelic word for family, the band consisted of Ciaran, Pol and Moya Brennan and their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan who played guitar and mandolin.

Clannad successfully bridged traditional Celtic music and pop, and became the first band to sing in Gaelic on Top of the Pops in 1982.

Clannad's crossover came in 1982 when the band were asked to record the theme for ITV mini-series Harry's Game, set among the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.

Their US career received a boost in 1993 when Volkswagen used Harry Game in a television commercial. The German company found their phone lines buzzing, not because people wanted to buy a car, but because they wanted to know more about the music.

The exposure gave the band their first US chart entry, and, in the same year, they contributed a track to the Oscar-winning drama The Last of the Mohicans, painstakingly researching the Mohican tribe to write the lyrics in their near-extinct language.

In 1997, they released their 15th album, Landmarks, winning their first ever Grammy Award, for best New Age recording.

A new Clannad album, named Nádúr, is scheduled for release in September. This is the band’s newest material since 1998.

Padraig's death comes just weeks after Leo Brennan, father of Ciaran, Pol and Moya died at the age of 90.

The musician is survived by his wife Jan. A funeral was held in St Mary's Church, Derrybeg, last Thursday.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Padraig Duggan was a truly gifted musician, with extraordinary skills on both the guitar and mandolin. As a founding member of the Irish folk group Clannad, Padraig beautifully blended the traditional sounds of Ireland’s musical past with contemporary pop music, helping to push the Celtic sound into the mainstream. Not just bandmates, Clannad were also family members, and their deep Gaelic roots and ethereal stylings shined on more than 15 full-length albums, including the much-celebrated Landmarks, for which they won the Grammy for Best New Age Album for 1998. We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to Padraig’s family, friends, and collaborators."

PATRICE MUNSEL an American colorture soprano was 17 when, in 1943, she won a Metropolitan Opera contract and $1,000 after tying for first place in the eighth annual Metropolitan Auditions of the Air, making her the youngest singer to ever star at the Metropolitan Opera, died August 4, 2016 at her home in Schroon Lake, N.Y. She was 91.

She made her official Metropolitan debut on December 4, 1943, at the age of 18, singing Philine in Mignon. Her first opera contract was for three years at $40,000 per year; with other appearances she was making around $100,000 annually. She performed 225 times at the Metropolitan.

In 1957-58 she starred in her own television show the ABC-TV primetime variety series The Patrice Munsel Show, produced by her husband Robert C. Schuler (1917–2007). Guests included Eddie Albert, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett and John Raitt.

She appeared in Las Vegas many times including a late 1950's revue produced by Schuler ans mounted at The New Frontier Hotel. Pat's co-star was John Reardon, who went on to stardom at the Met. The show was a hit and received publicity spreads in Life and Look magazines.

Pat was performing on one of the Theater Guild's cruises, when Philip Langner, the head of the Theatre Guild, and his wife, Armina Marshall, decided to bring the show A Musical Jubilee to Broadway. Directed by Morton DaCosta, the cast included Cyril Ritchard, Larry Kert, Lillian Gish, John Raitt and Tammy Grimes. The show played at the St. James Theatre off Times Square.

Her stage appearances also included The King and I, I Do, I Do, Song of Norway, The Sound of Music, Applause, A Little Night Music, My Fair Lady, Kismet, The Merry Widow(which broke all box office records at Lincoln Center during that time), Hello Dolly and one of her favorites-Mame.

Munsel appeared on the cover of Life magazine February 21, 1944.

Through a close friend, the actress Joan Caulfield, she met her future husband, an advertising and public-relations executive, producer, and writer. named Robert Schuller, the son of the man who had put the Mars candy bar on the market. They married in In 1952 and remained married for 55 years, until his death at age 90 in 2007. They had four children: She is survived by her daughters Heidi Schuler Bright, and Nicole Schuler, and a son, Scott Schuler, as well as two grandsons and two great-granddaughters. Her son Rhett Carroll Schuler died in 2005.

GLENN YARBROUGH founding member of The Limelighters died at his home in Nashville, TN on August 11, 2016. He was 86 and had been in declining health.

When he ran a club called the Limelite in Aspen, Colorado he formed a folk group with Alex Hassilev and Lou Gottleib, who arranged music for the Kingston Trio; they took their name from the club and released their first album, Limeliters, on Elektra Records in 1960.

In the mid-1960s, at the peak of The Limeliters' success, Yarbrough left the group (though he often returned for reunion tours) and pursued a solo career with RCA. As a solo act, his single Baby, the Rain Must Fall (the theme song for the film of the same name) was his most successful release, peaking at No. 12 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1965.

He continued to make records and tour for another five decades, but he balanced his music with his other great passion: sailing. His daughter Holly Yarbrough Burnett told The Tennessean that her father built his own boat, and he'd sail until the money ran out, then he'd get back on the road to play some more shows. He continued this routine until he was 80.

Yarbrough’s first marriage, to Peggy Goodhart, ended in divorce, as did his second, to Annie Graves, and his third, to Laurie Ann Poole. At his death, he was separated from his fourth wife, Kathleen Pommer. Besides his daughter Holly Yarbrough Burnett, his survivors include two children from his first marriage, Stephany Yarbrough and Sean Yarbrough; two stepdaughters, Brooke and Heather, from his marriage to Ms. Poole; a grandson; a great-grandson and son-in-law Robert Burnett.

KENNY BAKER a British actor who played R2-D2 in six Star Wars died August 13, 2016 after a long illness. He would have turned 82 on August 24.

The 3-ft 8-in actor began performing in 1950 at the age of 16, working as a circus clown, nightclub performer and in pantomime. He learned to ice-skate and appeared in many ice shows. He had formed a successful comedy act called the Minitones with entertainer Jack Purvis when George Lucas hired him to be the man inside R2-D2 in Star Wars in 1976.

In later years he has appeared at Star Wars fan conventions across the world.

He had been invited to attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Los Angeles in December 2015, but was too ill to travel. He later met up with George Lucas in Manchester, England.

He was married to actress Eileen Baker - who co-starred with him in the 1977 film Wombling Free - from 1970 until her death from epilepsy in 1993. Although Eileen also had dwarfism, this was not inherited by their two children who survive him.

Next Column: August 21, 2016
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