Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: August 28, 2016
By: Laura Deni


In the Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd a deranged serial killing barber turns customers into pie fillings. It's a gory and entertaining hit musical.

In Tooting - which is a South London's suburb which developed during the late Victorian period - a unique production of the musical was staged, in which patrons watched cut throat shaves as they ate meat pies. Really. And, it's coming to America.

In October 2014 director Bill Buckhurst who had just finished co-directing Hamlet with Dominic Dromgoole for Shakespeare’s Globe managed to successfully concoct one of the most remarkable and attention getting mountings of the famed musical.

He was universally given credit for the gory brilliance and ingenious, yet non gimmicky production.

Tooting Arts Club mounted the production which was funded by a Kickstarter program plus some help from the federal government. As they explained it:

"Our total budget for this production is £47k - minimum. By that we mean, this is what we need to make it happen – not comfortably – but we could do it, and this is where we are at so far…

"We have been awarded 15k, from the Arts Council (thank you) we predict a realistic £20k from ticket sales (based on a 70% capacity) we have secured approximately £6.5k from sponsorship so far, and we have applied for funding from other sources too which we hope we will secure.

"If our Kickstarter campaign is a success it will essentially green-light this project meaning that we will have secured all the funding we need to complete the project from start to finish"

Interior of Harrington's during a 'normal' day. Photo: Harrington's
Prior to the opening director Buckhurst said: “This will be Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd stripped-back and up-close with a cast of eight, a band of three and a uniquely atmospheric space – the perfect setting for this thrilling tale of love, betrayal, lust and murder.”

Sweeney Todd, patrons first gathered at Anton's barber shop which served as a bar and box office area. After enjoying cocktails to die for the hungry show goers crossed the street to Harrinton's Pie and Mash Shop - one of the oldest if not the oldest in England. Thirty-two customers sat at the restaurant's tables, ordered pies which could serve two and a side of mashed potato - know across the pond as mash. Instead of the potatoes being covered with brown gravy, they were covered with a liquor also known as parsley sauce, which is traditionally made from the water in which eels are stewed. Their parsley sauce is considered world class since the British eatery specializes in stewed eels.

We are assuming that neither parsley sauce nor eels will be on the American menu.

The customers then became part of an immersive musical experience.

The actors would sit down with the audience, climb on the tables, use the pie shop patrons as extras in various scenes and interacted with them before and during the play,

Each slit throat was announced by red light flowing across the eatery booths. Musicians included an old piano in the corner, the keys played by a waist-coated piano man, along with violin and clarinet accompaniment.

Stephen Sondheim (center) surrounded by the cast of Sweeney Todd in Harrington's Pie and Mash shop. Photo: Tooting/© Ms.Bronwen Sharp
On the final night the man - Steven Sondheim himself - attended the production. He not only gave it his blessing, he contacted Cameron Mackintosh who thought up the idea of re-creating Harrington’s in a vacant retail space next door to Les Miserables.

According to the company, "Tooting Arts recreated the interior of the beloved Harrington's, meticulously building an exact replica on Shaftesbury Avenue to house the show, the first pop-up musical to come to Theatreland."

No mincing around about it - a total success. The Tooting Arts Club opening a pie shop franchise across the pond seemed a natural expansion.

The Tooting Arts Club has a clever way of describing themselves. In 2012 they stated:

"We are Tooting Arts Club, a site-specific theatre company, providing professional theatre for the people of Tooting and further afield.

"TAC was formed with the sole intention of bringing quality professional theatre to a much loved neighborhood, who, we believed, would welcome such a venture. And we weren’t wrong! We now have a very strong community following, with a growing army of volunteers and professionals who regularly give-up their time and expertise to help the TAC cause. We were even invited to Parliament to take part in a ‘Heros of the Community’ celebration! And Boris Johnson (Editor's Note: New York City born British Member of Parliment) also wanted to shake our communal hand to thank us for our contribution to Tooting. Not sure he actually knows where Tooting is, but hey, we’ll take the compliment.

"TAC have produced four successful shows since 2011 and we are now very experienced and adept at managing such ambitious projects. We have a track record and are confident that we know this market place and how it works.

"We are also an award winning company, picking up the best actor gong at the Off West-End awards for Thomas Coombes’ performance in Barrie Keefe’s Barbarians. We are also a registered Community Interest Company, which, in essence, means we are a non-for profit organization with a strong community focus. God we’re nice."

Their 'further afield' productions will now include off-Broadway's Barrow Street Theater. Buckhurst will again helm the production which requires that the Barrow Street Theater be reconfigured into an intimate Victorian pie and mash shop. As in London, pie and mash will be served before the show at Barrow Street. The theater, which will seat 130, will be adjusted to try to capture the intimacy and atmosphere of Harrington’s.

A key ingredient will be serving up that intimacy.

Set design will be by Simon Kenny and Benjamin Cox is in charge of musical supervision.

Sweeney Todd had its Broadway premiere in 1979, starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury; Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone played the leads in the 2005 Broadway revival.

The Bill Buckhurst helmed entree served at The Barrow Street Theater will be open for close shaves and pie eating beginning February 14 with the official opening on March 1.

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THE COUTURE COUNCIL OF THE MUSEUM AT FIT in New York City will honor Albert Kriemler with the 2016 Couture Council Award at a luncheon on September 7, 2016. His commitment to outstanding craftsmanship and his dedication to creating well-tailored, wearable pieces that blend luxury with functionality has attracted powerful women, such as Angelina Jolie, Princess Charlene of Monaco, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

HISTORIC QUAKER MEETINGHOUSES are iconic pieces of American architecture. On Sunday, September 11, Catherine Lavoie examines Quakers’ paradoxical attitudes toward their houses of worship. Lavoie conducted a survey of meetinghouses associated with the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting and uses the 154 structures as a case study. Friends lovingly maintain their meetinghouses at the same time they deny their historic importance. She’ll explore how the “testimony of simplicity” leads Friends to preserve the old buildings rather than build new ones.

Catherine Lavoie is the chief of the Historic American Building Survey at the National Park Service. She is an expert on vernacular architecture and has been with HABS since 1985.

September 11, 2016 at the Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburg, VT.


OVER THE EDGE an opportunity to take part in a unique experience that stands high above the rest. On September 3, one hundred adventurers will go Over The Edge by rappelling nine stories down the side of one of downtown Burlington, Vermont's tallest buildings: the Courtyard Marriott Harbor Hotel.

Over the Edge for the Flynn is an opportunity for participants to push their limits and engage in something they will never forget while benefiting The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.

The Flynn opens up new worlds to over 200,000 people with its cultural programs, including 40,000 schoolchildren with its student matinees and educational programs, and it's with that spirit that rappellers are invited you to take in the 360 degree view of Burlington and Lake Champlain - taking that big step Over The Edge!

Proceeds from Over the Edge for the Flynn go toward the Flynn's cultural and educational programs, including scholarships for FlynnArts students, subsidies for student matinees, and subsidized tickets for our social and human services partners.

THE GRAMMY FOUNDATION AND GRAMMY MUSEUM are partnering on September 1 to celebrate the life and legacy of B.B. King, 15-time Grammy-winning rhythm & blues singer. Titled Icon: The Life And Legacy Of B.B. King, the live tribute will include performances by multi-Grammy winners Keb' Mo', Derek Trucks, and Jimmie Vaughan; Grammy winners Slash and Susan Tedeschi; Grammy nominees Joe Bonamassa and Kenny Wayne Shepherd; and blues guitarist Joe Louis Walker. The show's music director will be Jimmy Vivino of the Conan show. He will be joined by the Basic Cable Band, who will serve as the house band for the evening.

Scott Goldman, Vice President of the Grammy Foundation, will be the evening's host.

"This evening marks a unique collaboration between the Grammy Foundation and Grammy Museum, and it serves to showcase these charities founded by The Recording Academy that share a mission of preserving music's legacy and presenting it to a wide range of audiences," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation, and Board Chair of the Grammy Museum. "This event is designed to be an annual fundraiser in honor of a music icon that will invite the public to enjoy tribute performances by an array of talented artists that engage, entertain, and enlighten."

Proceeds raised from Icon: The Life And Legacy Of B.B. King will support the initiatives of the Grammy Foundation and Grammy Museum, two charitable organizations of The Recording Academy.

Referred to as the King of the Blues, King released more than 50 albums since he began recording in the 1940s. King was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He received The Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, has had four recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.

In addition to live tribute performances and storytelling by artists influenced by King's music, a pre-event VIP reception will be held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Calif.


the Lincoln Center's New York State Theater revival which opened on June 22, 1965, for a 39 performance run, was part of a series of musical revivals produced by famed composer Richard Rodgers for Lincoln Center from 1964-1969.

This version starred Alfred Drake, recreating his Tony-winning role as the Hajj, as well as Henry Calvin from the original Broadway production. Calvin who had a rich baritone voice, became a household name thanks to his non-singing role as the Spanish soldier, Sergeant Garcia on Walt Disney's live-action television series Zorro. (1957–1959).

The musical also starred Anne Jeffreys, Lee Venora, Richard Banke, Rudy Vejar, Albert Toigo, Anita Alpert, Richard Banke, Don Beddoe, Truman Gaige, and Beatrice Kraft.

The production was recorded and released as an album by Sony. It has now been released by Sony/ Masterworks Broadway.

A superbly vibrant listening delight and a welcome addition to any collection.

Because it has been remastered by producer Bill Rosenfield and engineer Jay Newland the harshness of earlier stereo recordings has been eliminated and the sound is exquisite.

Kismet is a musical with lyrics and musical adaptation (as well as some original music) by Robert Wright and George Forrest, adapted from the music of Alexander Borodin, and a book by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis, based on Kismet, the 1911 play by Edward Knoblock. The story concerns a wily poet who talks his way out of trouble several times; meanwhile, his beautiful daughter meets and falls in love with the young Caliph.

The musical was first produced on Broadway in 1953 and won the Tony Award for best musical in 1954. It was also successful in London's West End and has been given several revivals. A 1955 film version was released by MGM.

This Lincoln Center version is rich and lush.

Most people neither know nor care about the plot line.

What has always stood out is the music. People who aren't even fans of musicals recognize the Kismet score. Some numbers even took on their own life such as And This Is My Beloved, which has its own interesting backstory.

This song was in the 1953 musical and is credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was in fact based on music composed by Alexander Borodin, in this case, Borodin's String Quartet in D.

The same melody had earlier (1946) been used for a song credited to William Engvick, Bert Reisfeld and Alec Wilder entitled Spring Magic, which was recorded by Charlie Spivak and his Orchestra.

A version by Mario Lanza became popular in 1956. Gordon MacRae included it in his act. Sergio Franchi sang this song in 1962 when he was discovered by Norman Luboff singing on Sunday Night at the London Palladium. A favorite guest of Ed Sullivan and a Las Vegas regular Strip star, Franchi sang it on the February 4, 1968, broadcast by CBS; and recorded on his 1964 RCA Victor album The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi. Sarah Vaughn included it in her repertoire and Ray Conniff and his singers recorded it.

Other early recordings were made by Jerry Vale and Johnny Mathis. Julie Andrews sang the song in Japan in 1977. More recently Katherine Jenkins included it in her Daydream Album.

For at least a decade following the debut of Kismet the song And This Is My Beloved was almost de rigueur performed before or during a wedding or at the reception.

Alfred Drake in the 1954 production of Kismet.
As sung on this CD by Alfred Drake, Lee Verona, Richard Banks and Henry Calvin And This Is My Beloved, is showstopping.

The five minute and eleven second overture is impressive with orchestrations and choral arrangements handled by Arthur Kay. Musical director is Franz Allers.

This Arabian nights musical starred Anne Jeffreys as cast as Lalume, whose picture graces the CD cover. The accomplished soprano became a member of the New York Municipal Opera Company on a scholarship and sang the leads at Carnegie Hall in such things as La bohème, Traviata, and Pagliacci.

Her plans for an operatic career were sidelined when she was cast in a staged musical review, Fun for the Money. Her appearance in that revue led to her being cast in her first movie role, in I Married an Angel (1942), starring Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. She was under contract to both RKO and Republic Studios during the 1940s, but was cast in roles which didn't do her justice including several appearances as Tess Trueheart in the Dick Tracy series, and the 1944 Frank Sinatra musical Step Lively.

With a faltering career she began focusing on her stage career, playing lead roles on Broadway in productions such as the 1947 opera Street Scene, the 1948 Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate (having replaced Patricia Morison) and the 1952 musical Three Wishes for Jamie.

In 1951 she married actor Robert Sterling (whose first wife was Ann Sothern) in a union which lasted until his death in 2006. With Sterling Jeffreys appeared in the Emmy nominated CBS sitcom Topper (1953–1955), in which she was billed in a voiceover as "the ghostess with the mostest".

After a semi-retirement in the 1960s, she appeared on television, appearing in episodes of such series as Love, American Style (with her husband), L.A. Law and Murder, She Wrote. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in The Delphi Bureau (1972). She also appeared in Baywatch as David Hasselhoff's mother, and also had a recurring role in the night-time soap Falcon Crest as Amanda Croft.

In 1979, she guest starred as Siress Blassie in the Battlestar Galactica episode The Man with Nine Lives as a love interest of Chameleon, a part played by Fred Astaire. She was the last person to dance with him onscreen. She also guest starred as Prime Minister Dyne in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode Planet of the Amazon Women as the leader of the titular planet.

Her most recent career has been in daytime television; From 1984 to 2004, she appeared on the soap opera General Hospital. Thus, most people know her from non-singing roles and may be pleasantly astounded to discover her gorgeous voice in listening to this CD.

As for some of the numbers, Bored, a song written by Robert Wright and George Forrest for the 1955 movie version, was added to the score for this production and sung by Drake and Jeffreys. Not Since Nineveh performed by Jeffreys and Calvin is toe-tapping fun while the standard Stranger in Paradise sung by Lee Verona and Richard Banke is outstanding.

Very few shows have produced so many recognizable songs.

Lee Venora's voice on the beautiful Baubles, Bangles and Beads is enchanting and captivating. A vocal standout on this CD, Verona was highly active with the New York City Opera between 1957 and 1967 and a regular performer at the San Francisco Opera between 1961 and 1966.

Alfred Drake delivers a finely honed performance. With the exception of Vic Damone's movie version, Richard Banke's Caliph singing Night of My Nights may be the best on record.

Calvin's comedic performance in Was I Wazir? features a delightfully playful orchestration, followed by the humorous Rahadlakum sung by Drake, Jeffreys, Alpert and chorus - is sexy.

There is absolutely nothing to criticize about this CD. Lincoln Center has been staging masterful works for decades, as is evident in this release of the original cast album of Kismet by Masterworks Broadway.

Recorded on June 22, 1965 in Webster Hall, New York Recording engineer Ernie Oelrich.


Although deliberating placing a person in bad lighting and poor make-up will ensure the person looks old and haggard, SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists); took aim at the publicly printing of an actor's age - apparently believing that a casting agent will first look at the numeral age, rather than at a recent head shot.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer, SAG-AFTRA official sponsored California Assembly Bill 1687 which empowers members of SAG-AFTRA with the ability to force the removal of their ages from certain web sites. The bill does not offer the same protection for those not in the entertainment industry who seek work by filing an employment application on line

Amazon, Google and Facebook opposed the move on the grounds of free speech. Their views were represented by Lee Tien, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation; EFF who formally opposed the bill.

This bill passed by the California Senate on August 15, 2016 and then passed by the California Assembly on August 22, 2016. It is awaiting the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 1798.83.5 is added to the Civil Code, to read:

1798.83.5. (a) The purpose of this section is to ensure that information obtained on an Internet Web site regarding an individual’s age will not be used in furtherance of employment or age discrimination.

(b) A commercial online entertainment employment service provider that enters into a contractual agreement to provide employment services to an individual for a subscription payment shall not, upon request by the subscriber, do either of the following:

(1) Publish or make public the subscriber’s date of birth or age information in an online profile of the subscriber.

(2) Share the subscriber’s date of birth or age information with any Internet Web sites for the purpose of publication.

(c) A commercial online entertainment employment service provider subject to subdivision (b) shall, within five days, remove from public view in an online profile of the subscriber the subscriber’s date of birth and age information on any companion Internet Web sites under its control upon specific request by the subscriber naming the Internet Web sites. A commercial online entertainment employment service provider that permits members of the public to upload or modify Internet content on its own Internet Web site or any Internet Web site under its control without prior review by that provider shall not be deemed in violation of this section unless first requested by the subscriber to remove age information.

(d) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Commercial online entertainment employment service provider” means a person or business that owns, licenses, or otherwise possesses computerized information, including, but not limited to, age and date of birth information, about individuals employed in the entertainment industry, including television, films, and video games, and that makes the information available to the public or potential employers.

(2) “Payment” means a fee in exchange for advertisements, or any other form of compensation or benefit.

(3) “Provide employment services” means post resumes, photographs, or other information about a subscriber when one of the purposes is to provide individually identifiable information about the subscriber to a prospective employer.

(4) “Subscriber” means a natural person who enters into a contractual agreement with a commercial online entertainment employment service provider to receive employment services in return for a subscription payment.


It's not your usual type of festival. You're not going to find left over trash.

They have a code and a plan.

Because the event takes place in a desert and something gets burned, there are a lot of misconceptions about this annual event which attracts people from all over the world.

"At Burning Man the community explores various forms of artistic self-expression, created in celebration for the pleasure of all participants. Participation is a key precept for the community – selfless giving of one's unique talents for the enjoyment of all is encouraged and actively reinforced. Some of these generous out-pourings of creativity can include experimental and interactive sculpture, building, performance, and art cars among other mediums, often inspired by the yearly theme, chosen by organizers."

The annual sold out get together takes place August 28-September 5 in Black Rock, Nevada located 90 miles northeast of Reno.

In June the Burning Man Project purchased the Fly Ranch property, 3,800 acres of land located twenty-one miles north of Gerlach in Washoe County, Nevada. As a year-round site, Fly Ranch has the potential to expand Burning Man Project’s activities and existing programs, as well as amplify Burning Man’s cultural impact into the wider world beyond Black Rock City.

The story of Burning Man is growing beyond an annual event in the desert and into a worldwide network of Regional Events and civic programs like Burning Man Arts and Burners Without Borders.

According to their website: "Buying the property is the first step on a long journey. As stewards of this unique piece of land, our foremost responsibility is to ensure it will be maintained for generations to come. This will require planning and preparation. We have to lay the groundwork first. Then, we’ll spend the next few years exploring the possibilities for Fly Ranch."

Fly Ranch has 640 acres of wetlands, dozens of natural spring-water pools ranging in temperature from hot to cold, sagebrush-grasslands, and a small area of playa that opens onto the Hualapai Flat. The land’s most prominent feature is the stunning Fly Geyser, a unique and iconic geothermal geyser that constantly releases water reaching five feet in the air, depositing minerals and multi-colored algae on the terraces surrounding it. The Fly Ranch property is truly an oasis in the desert.

The name Burning Man comes from the tradition of burning a massive wooden man, who is about 40 feet in height. The burning is symbolic of the renewal of life. Guerilla street theatre, performance art, artistic theme camps and music are prevalent throughout the Burning Man Festival.

All of those attending follow the Ten Principles written by co-founder Larry Harvey in 2004 as guidelines.

"They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception."

A shortened version:

Radical Inclusion - Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Gifting - Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

Decommodification - In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising.

Radical Self-reliance - Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression - Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort - We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility - Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants.

Leaving No Trace - Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Participation - Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We achieve being through doing.

Immediacy - Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Burning Man provides infrastructural tools and frameworks to support local communities in applying the Ten Principles through six interconnected program areas, including Arts, Civic Involvement, Culture, Education, Philosophical Center and Social Enterprise.


and his E Street Band topped themselves last Thursday, August 25, 2016 as first posted by their fan website. The show lasted nearly four hours, breaking the previous record for the group’s longest U.S. show of 3 hours and 52 minutes set at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

However, The Boss’ European record is even longer - a show lasting 4 hours and 6 minutes in Helsinki, Finland, in 2012.

Fans can't say they don't get their money's worth.

Thursday's show also had a few milestones. It was the 41st anniversary of his Born to Run album. and at the end of the 33-song set, commotion in the audience got Springsteen's attention. He realized that a marriage proposal had just taken place and invited the couple to come on stage. With such a long show, there was a possibility that the couple had only met at the start of the evening. However, it appears that they had known each other for eight years. The man publicly declared that he loved her even more than he loved The Boss. It's not the first time a man has popped the question at a Springsteen gig. Another engagement took place last April.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band return to MetLife Stadium on August 30, presumably for another long show.

SUMMER STAGE a City Parks Foundation's annual free performing arts festival will showcase Chicago The Musical August 31st live in New York's Central Park. This event is free and open to everyone so come see Chicago, and enjoy all those Kander & Ebb classic songs.

THE AWARD-WINNING VERMONT BASED BREAD & PUPPET THEATER takes its annual Labor Day weekend "little big tour" down from Vermont to the Boston area, this year bringing their new Whatforward Circus to the Cambridge Common, to be presented outdoors on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

The Whatforward Circus, in true Bread & Puppet slapstick fashion, follows the escapades of a group of stone age technology puppeteers, brass players, and percussionists, as they, according to director Peter Schumann: "check out the prominent forward moving passions and politics of our capitalist culture, and make real and unreal against-the-grain proposals to identify and fight the anonymous monster, the big fat Wrong."

As always with Bread & Puppet circus events, if some of the circus acts are politically puzzling to adults, accompanying kids can usually explain them. Sourdough rye bread will be served after the show, along with the sale of the theater's Cheap Art. The audience is also welcome to stick around and check out all the masks and puppets.

Bread & Puppet Theater is an internationally celebrated company that champions a visually rich, street-theater brand of performance art filled with music, dance and slapstick. Its shows are political and spectacular, with huge puppets made of paper maché and cardboard. Founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City's Lower East Side, the theater has been based in the North East Kingdom of Vermont since the early 1970s.

Sunday, September 4, in Cambridge, MA. Bread & Puppet will also be performing their Whatforward Circus on Monday September 5th, at the Bread & Roses Heritage Festival in Lawrence, MA.

the next Music Director of Masterworks Chorale at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre.

The upcoming 77th season of Masterworks Chorale includes expressive large-scale choral works by Handel, Vaughan Williams and Morten Lauridsen led by three accomplished guest conductors. One of these conductors will be named the Chorale’s next Music Director, succeeding Steven Karidoyanes. Karidoyanes concluded a 10-year tenure leading Masterworks last season.

The 2016-17 season focuses on three highly regarded Boston-area conductors, one of whom will lead Masterworks Chorale into the future.

Steven Lipsitt currently serves as founding music director of the Bach, Beethoven, & Brahms Society, artistic director of VOICES Boston (formerly PALS Children’s Chorus), conductor of The Apollo Club (Boston’s oldest men’s chorus), and director of A Besere Velt (Boston’s Yiddish Community Chorus).

Kevin Leong has been Music Director of the Concord Chorus since 2012. He previously served as Associate Conductor of the Harvard-Radcliffe Choruses at Harvard University, where he directed the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus and, with Jameson Marvin, co-conducted the Harvard Glee Club, the Radcliffe Choral Society, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum.

Brian O’Connell is the Director/Founder of the Sarteano Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop in Tuscany Italy, where for the past twelve summers Simon Carrington and Bronislawa Falinska have joined him as tutors. At UMass/Lowell he directs the Chamber Singers and University Choir and teaches Vocal Pedagogy and Conducting.

“This is an exciting time for us,” says Chorale board president, Jeff Walker, who is also chair of the conductor search committee. “Although we will miss Steven Karidoyanes’ outstanding leadership, we are energized by the programs our three conductor/candidates have proposed for our 77th season. Each conductor has tremendous experiences and strengths to lead Masterworks into its next chapter, and we are so looking forward to making music with them.”

The season’s 3-concert series at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre begins Friday evening, November 11, 2016 with Steven Lipsitt conducting. On Sunday afternoon, March 5, 2017, the season continues with Kevin Leong conducting. The 77th season concludes Saturday evening, May 13, 2017 with Brian O’Connell conducting.

THE 23rd ANNUAL TRANSCANADA THEATER DISTRICT OPEN HOUSE takes place today, Sunday, August 28, in Houston, Texas.

Experience live performances, meet performers and go backstage. This favorite annual event marks the kick-off of the Fall performing arts season in Houston, and is a one-day-only opportunity to experience the energy and excitement of Houston’s Theater District…for free.

Among the participants: The Alley Theater where the 2016-2017 Season features a new musical, a world premiere, and a celebration of Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary..Broadway at the Hobby Center will include Sasha Allen in the National Touring Production of Pippin. Theater under the Stars (TUTS) and the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) presents Working: A Musical from the book by Studs Terkel, adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, running September 15-17 in Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center for The Performing Arts. Theatre Under The Stars will also present the original stage version of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show, the musical that inspired the iconic 1975 film. Live on stage in Zilkha Hall November 8-20, 2016.

AUGUST 30 is National Toasted Marshmallow Day and August 31 is International Bacon Day.


RYAN LOCHTE is suffering the fallout from being an Olympic champion who lied, displayed emotional immaturity and unprofessionalism when he either concocted or exaggerated a story about being robbed at gun point while in Rio de Janeiro. Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Syneron-Candela, owner of Gentle Laser Hair Removal and a mattress company have announces they have dropped, or will not renew sponsorship contracts with Lochte.

Lochte returned to America, immediately dyed his hair a normal color and did a barrage of interviews to say he had used poor judgment.


Police in Brazil have charge Lochte with filing a false robbery report.


Directed by Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad.

An American masterpiece, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is an incredibly powerful depiction of rage, racism, and exploitation set in 1927 Chicago during a recording session at a white-owned studio with the legendary singer - inspired by real-life Mother of the Blues Gertrude “Ma” Rainey. A groundbreaking play from Wilson’s The American Century Cycle chronicling the African-American experience of the 20th century.

August 31 - October 16, 2016 at the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles.

BLISS based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead with the text adaptation by Alessio Bordoni.

Directed by Rene Migliaccio.

Performed by Alessio Bordoni.

"Bliss follows the journey of consciousness after death, during the interval between death and rebirth (bardo), and serves as an allegorical guide for the living. In this new multi-disciplinary production, Artistic Director René Migliaccio's staging is a visual and poetic dance/theatre odyssey within the mind of an individual striving to awaken to a Higher Consciousness. The journey is theatrically of double nature: the actor living the text of the Bardo and a Butoh dancer manifesting as his supra consciousness on the path of liberation.

Original music features a fusion of ambient and accents of sounds and voices from the world, journeying on a wide spectrum from dark to ethereal moods. Projections create the pictorial environment for the journeyer on his path to liberation, immersing the audience in the symbolic dimension of dreams."

Art work by Estella Dupree. Original Music by Amaury Groc. Choreographer Consultant: Eric Pettigrew. Assistant Director of Production: Isabella Schiller.

Presented by Black Moon Theatre Company September 8-25, 2016 at the Flea Theatre in New York City.

MARIE AND ROSETTA George Brant’s play with music.

Directed by Neil Pepe.

The production stars Kecia Lewis and Rebecca Naomi Jones.

A huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Lewis) was a legend in her time, bringing fierce guitar-playing and swing to gospel music. Tharpe was the queen of ‘race records’ in the 30’s and 40’s, a woman who played guitar as passionately as Clapton, who performed mornings at churches and evenings at the Cotton Club, who was a big enough star to fill a baseball stadium for her third wedding, but ended up buried in an unmarked grave in Philadelphia.

Marie and Rosetta chronicles Sister Rosetta’s first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight (Jones), as they prepare to embark on a tour that would establish them as one of the great duet teams in musical history.

Marie and Rosetta will feature scenic design by Riccardo Hernández, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind, sound design by Steve Canyon Kennedy, music direction by Jason Michael Webb and casting by Telsey + Company.

In previews with an official opening slated for Wednesday, September 14 for a limited engagement through Sunday, October 2, 2016 off-Broadway at the Linda Gross Theater, New York City.


Directed by Latino Theater Company Artistic Director José Luis Valenzuela.

Musical direction by Rosino Serrano.

Choreography by Urbanie Lucero.

For the first time this award-winning trilogy, Faith, Hope and Charity, will be presented in its entirety. Audiences can choose to enjoy this adventure over the course of two evenings - or as one all-day immersive experience. Box dinners available for purchase.

Compelling, funny, peppered with song and flavored with a splash of magical realism, A Mexican Trilogy: An American Story touches on aspects of tradition, religion, labor issues, war and the clash between immigrants and their first and second generation American offspring. In just five hours, the twelve-actor ensemble portrays members of the Morales family over the course of 90 years and four generations. As the years fly by, we recognize the music of each era in classic songs ranging from the Andrews Sisters and Glenn Miller, to the Isley Brothers and Elvis, to Jimi Hendrix, all sung live by the cast.

Starring Esperanza America, Robert Beltran, Olivia Cristina Delgado, Evelina Fernández, Sam Golzari, Kenneth Miles Ellington Lopez, Sal Lopez, Julio Macias, Xavi Moreno, Ella Saldaña North, Geoffrey Rivas, Lucy Rodriguez.

The creative team includes scenic designer François-Pierre Couture; lighting designer Pablo Santiago; sound designer John Zalewski; costume designer Carlos Brown; and props designer Michael Navarro. The production stage manager is Henry “Heno” Fernández, the technical director is Wayne Nakasone; and the production manager is Gabe Figueroa.

The first production in the Latino Theater Company’s fall programming celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary and its 10th year operating the Los Angeles Theatre Center, A Mexican Trilogy: An American Story, opens at the Los Angeles Theatre Center on Thursday, September 15 and continues through October 9. Preview performances begin September 8.

A Mexican Trilogy is the winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s Ted Schmitt Award and was published by Samuel French in 2015.

LAS CRUCES by Vincent Delaney, the winner of the 2016 Premiere Stages Play Festival.

Directed by Premiere’s founding producing director John J. Wooten.

Set in the New Mexico desert, not far from the casinos and the spaceport, Las Cruces is "the egnigmatic story of buried secrets, improbable friendship, and unexpected redemption follows Sheridan, a Connecticut man who has fled his life on the East Coast under mysterious circumstances, and Soledad, the wisecracking, teenage card player he befriends. Selected from over 400 submissions as the winner of this year’s Play Festival, an annual competition for unproduced scripts by area playwrights.

Featuring actors Brian Sutherland, Charlotte Cohn and Diomargy Nuñez.

September 1 – 18 in Kean University’s Zella Fry Theatre, Union, N.J.

Tickets are also available for Premiere Stages’ exclusive Las Cruces Opening Night Party on Friday, September 2. This event features a pre-show party with wine and hors d’ oeuvres at the four-star farm-to-table restaurant Enoteca Ursino. There is also a post-show champagne toast and dessert reception with the cast.


KELLI O'HARA that talented Tony award winner will perform Friday, September 2 with Nathan Gunn at the Sun Valley Pavilion in Sun Valley, ID.

PLACIDO DOMINGO performs Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at Dubai Opera in Dubai, UAE.

SUZANNE VEGA widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation performs Saturday, September 3 at Guild Hal, East Hamptons, New York.

BRIAN WILSON appears at the New York State Fair with Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone on Monday, August 29. On Thursday, the show is at the Vaerket in Randers, Denmark. Brian appears at Together The People on Saturday, September 3, at Preston Park in Brighton, UK.

CHRIS ISAAK opens a two nighter Monday, August 29, at the Casino Regina Show Lounge in Regina, SK. Thursday's show is at the Grey Eagle Event Centre in Calgary, Alberta. On Saturday the tour stops at the Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, WA.

GAVIN DE GRAW takes to the stage Wednesday, August 31, at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, MA. On Thursday he's in the spotlight at the Maine State Pier in Portland, ME. Saturday's gig is at the Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville, DE.

STEVEN TYLER stars at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida on Monday, August 29. Thursday's show is at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. Next Sunday, September 4, he can be enjoyed at the Wang Theatre in Boston.


IRVING FIELDS famed New York City lounge pianist died August 20, 2016 at his Central Park South apartment in Manhattan. He celebrated his 101st birthday on August 4.

Fields wrote and performed hundreds of original songs, was considered a New York legend.

He first rose to prominence in 1959 with his best-selling album Bagels and Bongos, recorded for Decca Records which sold more than 2 million copies and blended traditional Jewish melodies with the hip-swaying Cuban rhythms he learned as a musician playing on Caribbean-bound cruise ships.

The album is one of nearly 100 that he recorded over the course of his nine-decade career.

Some of his most noteworthy compositions include Miami Beach Rhumba, Managua, Nicaragua, and Chantez, Chantez, covered by Dinah Shore in 1957. From November 1, 1954 to January 3, 1955, he and his orchestra appeared on the DuMont Television Network series The Ilona Massey Show, hosted by Ilona Massey.

He was the house pianist playing 6 nights a week at Nino’s Tuscany, a steakhouse near his midtown home. Five months ago he contracted pneumonia and had to take a medical leave.

Recently Fields explained to the New York Daily News that his secret to a long life was having sex at least four times a week, drinking one martini a day and making music.

He is survived by his wife Ruth, his children Mark Fields and Diane Fields Shaffren, step-children Penny and Peter and seven grandchildren.

JEANNE MARTIN a former model, who was the second wife of legendary entertainer Dean Martin, died Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at her Beverly Hills, CA home of cancer. She was 89 and passed away three weeks after the death of her son Ricci..

Jeanne and Dean married in 1949 almost immediately after his divorce from his first wife and were married for 23 years before divorcing. Jeanne more Dean three children - sons Dean Paul Jr., known as Dino, and Ricci, and a daughter Gina. Both sons predeceased their mother. In addition to her own children with Dean. she also helped raise his four children from his previous marriage.

Dean Paul was killed in 1987 while piloting a Phantom fighter jet for the Air National Guard. The jet crashed in the San Bernardino Mountains near Los Angeles killing him and another officer on board. He was 37.

Following the death of their son Dino, she and Dean grew close again and she was at his side when he passed away from emphysema on Christmas Day 1995. Jeanne never remarried following her split from Dean.

RUDY VAN GELDER a recording engineer who specialized in jazz died August 25, 2016. He was 91.

Regarded as the most important recording engineer of jazz by some observers, Van Gelder recorded several thousand jazz sessions, including many recognized as classics, in a career which spanned more than half a century. Van Gelder recorded many of the great names in the genre, including John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, and Horace Silver, among many others. He worked with many record companies, but he is most closely associated with Blue Note Records.

Van Gelder was named a fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in 2009. In 2013, he received the Society's most prestigious award, the AES Gold Medal.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "A 2012 recipient of The Recording Academy Trustees Award, Rudy Van Gelder was not only known as a pioneering recording engineer, he was regarded as one of the most prolific figures from jazz’s golden age. Rudy’s intense dedication to his craft helped sonically shape some of the quintessential jazz recordings of all time by artists such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and Thelonious Monk. We have lost a brilliant artisan and our heartfelt condolences go out to Rudy’s family, friends, and all those who benefited from his tremendous talents. He will be missed greatly."

E. PERRY THOMAS one of the good guys - a visionary, honest banker who made it possible for Las Vegas to build casinos died Friday, August 26, 2016 at his horse ranch in Hailey, Idaho. His wife and children were by his side. He was 95.

Next Column: September 4, 2016
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