Broadway To Vegas


Copyright: August 29, 1999
By: Laura Deni


When his mother started reciting audience shares to him Kevin James knew he was a success.
The star of the CBS sitcom hit King of Queens, who draws a salary most only dream of taking to the bank, worries that the paychecks will stop if he enjoys too much too soon. He resisted buying a home, fearing if he did, he'd jinx his success. "You buy a house and all this stuff, and then it crashes down tomorrow." James shares a condo with his brother in Los Angeles.

Raised in Stony Brook, New York, his father was in insurance and his mother worked in a chiropractor's office. He working class background makes it easy for him to portray the shorts wearing package delivery truck driver. "He's a guy very close to me," said James of his television character.

James, who changed his last name in his mid-20s after he started getting booked as a stand-up comedian, returns to his performing roots this Labor Day Weekend with stand up gigs at the Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas on September 4 and 5.


ANN MILLER taps her troubles away
Fred Astaire called Ann Miller the fastest tap dancer in the world. The ageless and beautiful tap dancer has a secret reason why she keeps those taps flying.

She's not happy.

As Jerry Herman penned in Mack and Mable - Tap Those Troubles Away.

"I've never been happy. I've been successful, but never happy in my personal life," confessed the leggy dancer, who has been divorced from three millionaire ex-husbands who abused her.

Husband number one was Reese Milner whom she left after he pushed her down the stairs when she was nine months pregnant. She didn't fair much better with William Moss. He broke her arm during a drunken argument. Third husband, Arthur Cameron was a boozing womanizer.

"That's why I keep taping. I tap to forget. I have to concentrate on the dance routines, so I can't concentrate about being unhappy."


Once while playing Sally in Babes In Arms her wig fell off during a crucial dramatic scene. Then there was thatOpryland performance. While in the middle of a Can Can number she couldn't figure out why it felt so breezy. Then she remembered that she'd forgotten to put on her underwear.The audience was mesmerized.

Even with her pants pulled up and her curly haired wig secure, Kristin Chenowith proved she could keep the crowd's attention. The delightful Broken Arrow, Oklahoma born performer brought home the Tony for her charming portrayal of Sally Brown in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Frequently compared to a "young Bernadette Peters," the lady with the little girl voice and the powerful five octave vocal range, has given notice that she has her own multi-talented identity.

Chenoweth returns to the Broadway footlights in Epic Proportions.The Jerry Saks directed comedy is set in the 1930's on the desert film set of a biblical spectacular.


In his never ending quest to remain low profile, mob lawyer turned Las Vegas mayor, Oscar Goodman, now has his picture plastered on casino chips.

The Four Queens Hotel and Casino has released a gaming chip which features a flattering photo of the mayor who has brought a certain personality and pizzazz to the mayor's office.

The hotel hopes that the casino chips become collectors' items. They've only minted 2,500 $5 chips and 250 $25 chips. Considering what the litigator charges his clients per hour, we'd say hizzonor is letting himself be played cheap.

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Tony Award winner and American Repertory Theatre alum Cherry Jones is taking a turn on the big screen as one of the stars of The Perfect Storm, a film adaptation of Sebastian Junger's book about the ill-fated crew of the Andrea Gail, who perished in the 1991 storm.

Filming is split between the Warner Brothers lot in LaLaLand and Boston's North Shore.

More than 600 extras were rounded up for a crowd scene - a funeral at St. Ann's Church in Gloucester. Lending an eerie feeling to the shoot were several extras who had attended the actual service.

Two main characters are Christina Cotter, whose finance Bobby Shatford died in the storm. Cotter has visited the set and hopes to meet Diane Lane who portrays her in the movie. Mark Wahlberg is cast as Shatford.

As for Jones, in December she returns to Broadway in Moon for the Misbegotten, a revival of the O'Neill classic that first opened on Broadway in 1957.


HARRY CONNICK, JR returned to Charleston S.C. after an absence of seven years to inaugurate the new 2,300-seat North Charleston Performing Arts Center. The new $18 million venue features African mahogany trim and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.There is a hydraulic orchestra pit permitting extra stage or audience space while the audience is comfortable in cushioned seats. Connick with his 16-piece band performs selections from his latest CD, Come By Me.

KAREN MASON will officially open the new Cabaret Room in Arci's Place, NYC. Restaurateur John Miler announced that his stylish Italian restaurant will feature topnotch talent from the cabaret, music and theater worlds. The room will be soundproofed and a new lighting and sound system installed. Broadway and cabaret star Karen Mason's month long engagement begins Nov. 3. Her new show, directed by MAC Award-winning director Barry Kleinbort, will celebrate the release of her third CD Christmas! Christmas! Christmas! a live recording of her 1998 Christmas concert.

COMMUNICATING DOORS presented by the Charlotte Repertory Company, Charlotte, N.C. is a comedy set in a swanky hotel suite in 2018, 1998, and 1978, a leather clad dominatrix-for-hire has been called in to provide one final good time for an ailing zillionaire, who, she soon finds out, has a fondness for killing his wives. Directed by Charlotte Rep Founder and Artistic Director Steve Umberger. September 10-26.

CLOUD 9 A new revival of the Caryl Churchill satirical farce which examines a cornucopia of sexual mores. Marc Geller directs the T Schreiber Studio production. Set Design by Leonard Cossari, with Lighting Design by Frank DenDanto III and Costume Design by Marc Geller. Opens Sept. 15 at the Gloria Maddox Theatre, NYC.

CHESAPEAKE Mark Linn-Baker stars in this new comedy by Lee Blessing, directed by Max Mayer. A Chesapeake Bay retriever is an unwitting accomplice in a performance artist's twisted scheme to bring down his nemesis - right-wing southern politician. Second Stage Theatre, NYC. Previews begin Sept. 30.

TITANIC pulls up anchor September 5 in St. Louis and drops it again in Detroit Sept 7. The production stays docked through Sept. 26 at the Fisher Theatre.

PRICE the Arthur Miller classic receiving rave reviews at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mass. James Naughton directs. The production stars: Jeffrey DeMunn as Victor, Harris Yulin portrays his big brother Walter while Lizabeth Mackay is Victor's wife, Esther. Rounding out the ensemble is Bob Dishy as the furniture appraiser Gregory Solomon.

FOXBOROUGH, MASS ORPHEUM THEATRE under the leadership of new executive director Lisa Giuffre, is broading their base to include jazz nights and non traditional plays. Upcoming: Fame by the Uncommon Theatre Company and a play by the New York City based Theater Works USA.

CAMPING WITH HENRY & TOM In 1921, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Pres. Warren Harding took a camping trip together to escape civilization; they couldn't escape each other. Inspired by an actual event - comedic and dramatic clash of two great minds and one great heart. Antigone Theatre, Horse Cave, KY through October 2.

CATS MGM-Grand, Las Vegas September 7-12.

BARNUM Stagebrush Theatre, Scottsdale, AZ. September 3 - 26.


DIONNE WARWICK AND THE FOUR TOPS September 3 & 4 The Palace Theater at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

OSCAR PETERSON, CLARK TERRY AND JAMES MOODY plus 27 other great musicians on a national tour dubbed Swing Magic, the last great big-band tour of the 20th century. Gig ends October 1 at the Waldorf in NYC.

SARAH BRIGHTMAN September 5, MGM-Grand, Las Vegas.

B.B. KING who resides in Las Vegas, but is always out on tour, fondles Lucille - that's his guitar's name - August 30 at his B.B. King's Blues Club in Memphis.

VICTOR BORGE in a performance Sept 13 for Houston Symphony Subscribers. The "Great Dane" will celebrate 50 years in show business as he makes his debut at Jones Hall with the Houston Symphony.

GEORGE WINSTON September 2, Mayo Civic Center, Rochester, Minn.

DEBBIE REYNOLDS finished her successful Las Vegas engagement and raced to Bossier City, LA where she'll be starring at Casino Magic September 2 & 3.

THE BOLSHOI BALLET in a rare Las Vegas visit. Two dozen ballet artists and a live chamber orchestra perform selections from their most popular productions in Classical Collection: From Russia With Love. Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas. September 3-5.

MARTINA McBRIDE Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ September 4.

LEANN RIMES September 3-5 Las Vegas Hilton.


BRENT BARRETT THE KANDER & EBB ALBUM was feted in a private reception at Zanzibar Restaurant, NYC, celebrating the release of the new Varese Sarabande CD.

CLOSER rang down the curtain at the Music Box Theatre, NYC. Star Anna Friel made her final bow at last Sunday's matinee by throwing her G-string and garter belt into the audience.

TOM WOPAT the cast members of Annie Get Your Gun, and Brendan Saxton, President of the Times Square Business Improvement District, will be at the Times Square Visitors Center at noon on Wednesday, September 1, to celebrate the 139th birthday of legendary sharpshooter Annie Oakley and the 200th performance of the 1999 Tony Award winning musical revival Annie Get Your Gun. Along with the down-home festivities, a special dedication will be made in honor of the first anniversary of the Times SquareVisitors Center, where the visitor can get literature, free of charge, which help them know where they're going to (TimesSquare Map), where they should eat (Restaurant Guide), and even what to watch (Entertainment Guide).

OSMOND BROTHERS celebrated their 40th anniversary in show business by bring their parents to Las Vegas to watch them perform an SRO engagement at the Riviera Hotel.

SIEGFRIED AND ROY begin the media blitz for their IMAX 3D motion picture, Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box, appearing on Larry King Live Monday, September 6. In addition to discussing their upcoming movie, they'll talk about Mirage Hotel performances, magic, living in Las Vegas and their animals.

PAT MORITA who was restaurant owner Arnold in Happy Days and delighted audiences as Mr. Miyagi - "Wax on, wax off - in Karate Kid I, II, III has returned to his stand up comedic roots. Now living in Las Vegas, he performed last week at Whiskey Pete's, Stateline, Nev.

TED LANGE of Love Boat fame in Las Vegas directing Same Old Songs at the Boardwalk Hotel.

FROM WRITER TO PROSTITUTE and there are those who'll say that's not a stretch. Anyway, scribe Lynn Sweet did a piece for Popsmear magazine on the Moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel near Carson City, NV. That girl really got into her research. So much so that she left the Fifth Estate to join the world's oldest profession. She plying her new trade full time at the ranch. She claims to be collecting material for a book, but admits that sex is better than editing and so is the pay.

PADDED ROOM The Rainbow Museum in Cleveland has a room where the walls are covered in bubble wrap. In this bubble mania exhibit you can create bubbles, stretch bubble sheets five feet high and blow bubbles through a bottomless container to make bee hives.

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Next Column: September 5, 1999
Copyright: August 9, 1999. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, reprinted, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.
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Laura Deni

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