Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: August 6, 2017
By: Laura Deni


George Takei and William Shatner - still feuding after all these years.
Their lights burn brightly in this or any galaxy. So does some of the controversy.

When they aren't shinning on a stage, they're in another galaxy - the one they helped create - the world of Star Trek. The annual Star Trek convention extinguishes its beam today, Sunday, August 6, 2017 after landing at the Rio Hotel in the Las Vegas solar system since last Wednesday.

In addition to camaraderie there was the resurrection of that feud - the one that has been going on for 50 years between William Shatner and George Takei.

The feud that won't go away again made headlines this past week as pundits also opined over whether Shatner is still a liberal who advocates equality for all.

Nobody has ever disclosed any specific reason why the two men aren't best buds or even casual friends. It may be one of those situations where people just don't particular like each other. That can happen. In the case of Shatnet/Takei - might not want to invite them to the same Thanksgiving dinner - the animosity regularly bubbles up.

Both appeared separately at the Las Vegas convention.

“The Man” himself, the iconic legend William Shatner who on Saturday, August 5, spoke, signed autographs and participated in photo ops, including those on the recreation of the original Star Trek Bridge.

Two-time Emmy Award-winner Shatner is best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek. Other TV credits include The Practice, Boston Legal and T. J. Hooker.

Shatner debuted on Broadway in the original play Tamburlaine the Great from January 19, 1956 - February 4, 1956. His following roles had longer staying power. He starred in The World of Suzie Wong from October 14, 1958- January 2, 1960 then headed the farce A Shot in the Dark from October 18, 1961 - September 22, 1062. After a hiatus in which he became a mega star thanks to Star Trek he returned to Broadway for a short solo gig February 16, 2012 - March 4, 2012.

That one man show had legs and along with books, documentaries, lectures, and commercials he has become of the world’s most recognized entertainers.

In 2017 Shanter hosted/inaugurated the first Official Star Trek Cruise. He also breeds champion American Saddlebred horses on his ranch in Kentucky, and produces and hosts the annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show, an event that has raised millions of dollars for a variety of children’s charities.

In the opposing corner of the fight ring is Captain Sulu of the USS Excelsior - that would be George Takei who gained new young fans through his public advocacy for rights for all. Takei appeared at the Las Vegas convention, signing autographs and doing photo ops both yesterday and today.

George Takei and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga in Allegiance. Photo: Matthew Murphy
He made his debut on Broadway in the musical Allegiance, from November 8, 2015 - February 14, 2016.

I enjoyed Takei's Broadway musical Allegiance which offered and important lesson on how Americans treated people.

Neither man has ever disclosed what caused their feud. Maybe neither actually knows.

Takei had told Howard Stern that on two occasions he invited Shatner, through the writing of personal letters, to attend Allegiance. Those invitations were acknowledge by Shatner's assistant, according to Takei but that they were ignored.

He also asserted to ABC that he invited Shatner to his 2008 nuptials to his long-term partner Brad. Shatner says otherwise.

Both men periodically volley insults.

In 2008 Shatner labeled George 'sick' and 'psychotic' a 'very disturbed individual,' and declared that he claimed he feels 'nothing but pity for him'.

When asked about Shatner at a 2013 Q&A session on Watch What Happens Live, he responded: " Well, he’s very self-possessed, self-involved, everything revolves around The Captain.'

On June 16, 2015 Takei told ABC news: "It’s difficult working with someone who is not a team player. The rest of the cast all understand what makes a scene work -- it’s everybody contributing to it. But Bill is a wonderful actor, and he knows it, and he likes to have the camera on him all the time."

When a collection of Shatner’s handwritten notes went up for auction on November 17, 2016 one of the missives concerned his relationship with Takai.

Shatner wrote: “I had never really got to know him. He would come in every so often during the week while we were shooting Star Trek. I was busy learning lines and dealing with my life, so I really can't remember a meaningful conversation. I’m sure that would be my lack of attention.”

Both men have admitted that the "feud" is good for business. "It’s all coming from Bill. Whenever he needs a little publicity for a project, he pumps up the so-called controversy between us," he told the New York Times Magazine, adding that there's no real tension. 'I've accepted Bill too, I'm a Buddhist. I embrace the diversity.'

Not being embraces is the accusation that boiled over into headlines last week that Shatner is some sort of a racist or white supremacist.

I really doubt that.

Shatner is the man who fought for himself and African American actress Nichelle Nichols who played Uhurs to share what has been called the first American, televised, scripted, interracial kiss, which was part of a 1968 Star Trek episode Plato’s Stepchildren.

Captain Kirk and Uhurs kiss on the Star Trek episode Plato's Stepchildren. Photo:Star Trek
Shatner recalls in Star Trek Memories that NBC insisted their lips never touch using a technique of turning their heads away from the camera. However, Nichelle Nichols insists in her autobiography Beyond Uhura which was written in 1994 after Shatner's book, that the kiss was real, even in takes where her head obscures their lips.

When NBC executives learned of the kiss they became concerned it would anger TV stations in the Deep South. NBC ordered that two versions of the scene be shot - one where Kirk and Uhura kissed and one where their lips only appeared to touch, according to Nichols' book. Having successfully recorded a real kiss version of the scene, Shatner and Nichols deliberately flubbed every take of the fake kiss version, thus forcing the episode to air with the kiss.

While much of the of the smoke and mirrors can be attributed to Twitter this Shatner flap has taken on a life of its own and actually spawned lengthy, legitimate response articles by respected writers.

It seems Shatner, 86, who has enjoyed a reputation as a fighter for equal rights since the late 1906s, was compared to a Nazi and accused of being a member of the 'alt-right' after posting on Twitter that Social Justice Warriors shouldn't compare themselves to Reform activists of the 1960s

As fast as Twitterites could type, social media backlash was aimed at Captain Kirk's direction.

Gizmodo writer Matt Novak used a screen grab of Shatner dressed as a Nazi from a Star Trek episode as the headlined image on his article slamming the star asserting that Shatner :had 'aligned himself with the so-called alt-right,' a nationalist white-supremacy movement.

Shatner is Jewish. His grandparents immigrated to Canada fleeing the anti-Semitism of Eastern Europe.

Matthew Rozsa of Salon also scolded Shatner, claiming in an article that: 'It seems pretty clear that there has been a decline in Shatner’s character, at least when it comes to his past support for equal rights.'

Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon and penned: "It seems pretty clear that there has been a decline in Shatner’s character, at least when it comes to his past support for equal rights. It’s unfortunate and his critics are right to call him out on it. That doesn’t mean that we should struggle with cognitive dissonance over how the man who courageously opposed racism in 1968 can now argue for right-wing establishment views in 2017."

Twitter folk kept twittering pondering whether his Star Trek image will be hurt.

A Monday, July 31 posting: "Does William Shatner’s attack on “SJWs” erase his “Star Trek” legacy?"

On July 30 another follower tweeted: "Please tell me you're not a right wing nutcase... info wars supporter?

That same day Shatner responded: "Equality. It's where everyone is treated fairly. I know: new concept."

This could be lot being stirred up over nothing. A back and forth Twitter exchange always seems to acerbate not placate. Even his followers questioned the wisdom of such a rapid exchange.

On July 31, 2017 a followed posted: "I'm shocked you take the time to both read and reply to much of this garbage."

Shatner replied: "I try and read everything and comment where I can especially to show how ridiculous some can be.

Some tweets can also be funny.

When a fan club member inquired on Twitter that he had heard there were rules for meeting him and wondered "What r they?" Shatner replied: "No kissy wissy, no huggy wuggy."

Despite any controversy or feuds the current Star Trek Convention wasn't all highly choreographed avoidance.

This year marks the 16th edition of the convention, whose highlights included the first looks at Star Trek: Discovery, the latest Star Trek series, and a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Organizers say more than 100 celebrities from the Star Trek universe attended.

Opening day attendees learned about Star Trek: Discovery, scheduled to premiere in September, via panel presentations, appearances by cast members and producers of the show, an exhibit and the viewing of props, costumes and art. On Friday evening, the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation was celebrated with a reunion panel featuring the series’ cast members.

In addition to Shatner and Takei materializing were Sir Patrick Stewart on Friday and Saturday, and Kate Mulgrew on Saturday.

Mulgrew did time on Broadway appearing in a revival of Equus as well as the farce White Liars & Black Comedy. Theatrical legend Sir Patrick Stewart can boast a massive list of performance credits.

Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation none other than Sir Patrick did an extra added panel on the classic episode The Inner Light, which he called his favorite.

Brent Spiner as John Adams in the Roundabout's revival of 1776. Photo by Joan Marcus
Among other celebrities appearing were Broadway luminaries Brent Spiner (Life (x) 3, 1776, Big River, The Three Musketeers, Sunday in the Park with George, and A History of the American Film); Jonathan Farkes ( Les Liaisons Dangereuses Legs Diamond, Big Deal, Grind, The Rink, Noises Off, La Cage aux Folles, and My One And Only); Nana Visitor (Chicago and My One and Only); Armin Shimerman (I Remember Mama, Saint Joan and Threepenny Opera).

Other stars on hand were Karl Urban, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, LeVar Burton, Terry Farrell, Denise Crosby, Alice Krige, and former NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, who also appeared in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode.

Nichols, known for her role as communications officer Lieutenant Uhura in the original series, and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel in space, reunited on Wednesday. Jemison was a fan of the original series and credited Nichols' powerful character as her inspiration for joining NASA. She even had a cameo on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now, Jemison is gearing up to head the 100 Year Starship Project, which plans to transport people beyond our solar system.

The iconic sci-fi series is also blasting off into another orbit with CBS' Star Trek: Discovery, set to debut on September 24. The show's lead is Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays First Officer Michael Burnham.

The late Leonard Nimoy was remembered via a celebration of his life and legacy by his son, Adam; a documentary, Remembering Leonard Nimoy, produced and directed by his daughter, Julie, and son-in-law David Knight; and a video presentation of Nimoy’s final convention appearance in 2011 in Chicago.

An interesting panel was exploring Actors' Careers Beyond Star Tek: How Has It Influenced Their Franchise? consisted of a Saturday panel hosted by Tyler Orton and Cam Smith of podcast Subspace Transmissions. The promo touted: "Everyone already knows about Patrick Stewart in the X-Men films or William Shatner in The Twilight Zone, so instead our lecturers want to examine standout performances in under-recognized projects.

"Our moderators have been digging deep throughout the Star Trek stars’ filmographies for performances that can be tied back to their iconic roles on Star Trek.

"Did Nichelle Nichols draw inspiration for her mercurial role in 1974’s Truck Turner from a trip to the Mirror universe seven years earlier? Did Brent Spiner’s co-lead role in HBO’s Golden Globe-winning Introducing Dorothy Dandridge require the touch of an android with a positronic brain? Was Dominic Keating already prepared to tend to the armory on the NX-01 after serving on the Watchers Council in Buffy The Vampire Slayer?

"In many cases these lesser-known roles exhibit kernels of ideas exhibited in their Trek performance or minor facets of their iconic characters."

A cosplay competition and costume parade took place Saturday with more than 3,000 guests arriving in costume.

To help avoid any wardrobe malfunctions and "in the spirit of the humble tailor who graced the halls of Deep Space: Nine with sartorial splendor, we offer all cosplay fans an invaluable service at this year’s event: an all-purpose costume service center for all your wardrobe malfunctions. With over 3000 costumed fans in attendance, Garak's Tailor and Repair . . . promises to serve the needs of our ever-growing cosplay population. Manned by costuming service experts, we have all the tools of the trade, from sewing machines, glue guns, thread, scissors, seam rippers, measuring tape, Velcro, tool kits, Goo Gone, Band-Aids and every other conceivable type of costuming weapon in our arsenal."

The annual Saturday Night Gala was a 90-minute performance led by Emmy and Grammy nominated composer, Ron Jones, who has composed music for TV shows including Star Trek: The Next Generation, American Dad! and Family Guy. Ron brought his talents to Las Vegas with his Influence Jazz Orchestra with special guest performers including Jimmy Darren, Robert Picardo, Tim Russ, Camille Saviola, Max Grodenchik, Chase Masterson, JG Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly.

The convention will end with the traditional live performance by the talented and hilarious Star Trek Rat Pack which is an ever updated and changing Star Trek themed parody of the original Rat Pack nightclub act featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. The show will take place late tonight, Sunday.

Performers that make up the 2017 Star Trek Rat Pack show are Ethan Phillips, Casey Biggs, Max Grodenchik, Vaughn Armstrong, Jeffrey Combs, and Bill Burchell.

May the Force be with them.

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Fazal Sheikh, Abshiro Aden Mohammed, Women's Leader, Somali Refugee Camp, Dagahaley, Kenya, 2000, from the series A Camel for the Son. © Fazal Sheikh.
is the first comprehensive American exhibition of critically acclaimed photographer Fazal Sheikh’s work. The more than two-decade-long career of the Kenyan-rooted and American-born artist has focused on raising awareness of international human rights issues through his documentary-based photography practice.

The exhibition features more than 100 portraits and landscapes chronicling individuals living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world, many times as the result of war, exploitation, and poverty.

Common Ground surveys work which spans a period from 1989 to 2013, offering deeper insight into major world events, racial strife, and mass global displacement in places such as East Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and the Netherlands. Stories told through Sheikh’s pictures focus on survivors, orphans, and victims of violence and abuse.

Sheikh’s series of photographs have earned him countless awards and fellowships, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Henri Cartier-Bresson International Grand Prize, and the Luce Humanitarian Award, among many others.

August 13, 2017 – November 12, 2017 Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado.

EMPORIA STATE UNIVERSITY ART THERAPY PROGRAM in Emporia, Kansas under the direction of Dr. Gaelynn P. Wolf Bordonaro provides a pair of engaging programs on Wednesday, August 16 at the World War I Museum in Kansas City.

During World War I children were forced to cope with life-altering experiences and as shown in the centennial exhibition Vive l’Amérique: French Children Welcome their American Ally, many children turned to drawing or writing to help process and express their feelings towards the war.

Dr. Bordonaro conducts two interactive lectures, a family-friendly experience and an adult session, speaking about the powerful effect art therapy can have in response to a wide variety of experiences.

Both sessions are free.

NATIONAL RUM DAY TASTING takes place August 16, 2017 at the Museum of Art & Sciences in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Join a National Rum Day celebration in the courtyard at the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art with Copper Bottom Craft Distillery. Learn about the process of distilling rum locally from Jeremy Craig of Copper Bottom Distillery as well as the history of the original Rum Runners of Holly Hill by MOAS Senior Curator of Education and History, James "Zach" Zacharias, while tasting rum samples and popular rum cocktails. Enjoy the social atmosphere, music, and light appetizers among friends. This event is (obviously) for ages 21 and older.

While there enjoy the newest exhibit on display at MOAS titled, Gods and Goddesses: Greek Mythology in the MOAS Collection. This exhibit brings to light the colorful characters and tales of Greek mythology as represented in various types of objects in the MOAS collection and shows that the legacy of one of the world's oldest cultures is still alive and well.

Those Gods and Goddesses knew a thing or two about drinking. The exhibit is on display through October 15, 2017.


GUILD HALL 2017 SUMMER GALA takes place Friday, August 11, 2017.

VIP access to an exclusive exhibition preview of summer exhibition, followed by a convivial evening of music, dancing, dining, and an exhilarating live fine art auction. Promises to be a "truly a unique Hamptons experience!"

The evening benefits Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY.

COMEDIANS STAGE A BENEFIT FOR TWO LEGAL CHARITIES working on the Grenfell Tower Fire which took place on June 14, 2017 at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, West London. It caused at least 80 deaths and over 70 injuries.

Fringe veteran and political activist Mark Thomas brings a unique fund raising event to Edinburgh’s Festival that promises to be one of the best bills you will see this August with a truly amazing range of performers. Proceeds will go to support the work of two legal charities –INQUEST and North Kensington Law Centre - working with Grenfell residents, survivors and families of the victims.

Performers include Stephen K Amos - Milton Jones - Josie Long - Archie Maddocks - Shazia Mirza - Sara Pascoe - Attila the Stockbroker - Mark Thomas and Bilal Zafar.
INQUEST is the only charity in England and Wales providing expertise on contentious deaths and their investigation and aims to play a lead role in shaping the public inquiry, ensuring families have access to justice, have their voices heard, their questions answered, and those responsible are held to account.

North Kensington Law Centre is a legal charity currently working with over 100 families (survivors, residents and families of victims) providing legal advice and representation and offering practical support to help resolve the immediate problems they face so they can focus on trying to come to terms with their loss and grief and to begin to rebuild their lives.

The benefit takes place August 15 in the Grand Hall of the New Town Theate in Edinburgh, Scotland.

takes place Sunday, August 13, 2017 at the museum.

Having a great day is as easy as pie at Rokeby Museum’s annual Pie & Ice Cream Social – always a fun and sweet event.

Their experienced corps of pie-baking volunteers has been perfecting the art of pie making for more than 30 years. Peach, apple, berry pies of every kind – it’s twelve feet of pie like you’ve never seen before. The Museum suggests making it “a la mode,” with ice cream from Vermont’s own Wilcox Dairy. They even explain that you can justify helping yourself to a second slice because all proceeds support the Museum’s mission.

Music this year is courtesy of Abby’s Agenda, an electric bass, drums, and vocal trio devoted to familiar – and not so familiar! – jazz standards.

Rokeby Museum is a 90-acre historic site and National Historic Landmark designated for its exceptional Underground Railroad history. Rokeby was home to four generations of the Robinson family, from 1793 to 1961. The Museum is located on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh, Vermont.


begins Friday at Graceland in Memphis. The schedule of events includes the annual Candlelight Vigil, Elvis: The Wonder of You Concert Event, The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, Elvis 101, the Elvis Fan Reunion, four Conversations on Elvis panels, concerts and much more.

Special guests include Priscilla Presley, Jerry Schilling, guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Burton, songwriters David Porter, Randy Starr, Mack James, Mac Davis and Mike Stoller, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Wanda Jackson, Bill Medley, Elvis' co-stars Marlyn Mason and Pat Priest, his hair stylist Larry Geller and his jeweler Lowell Hays among many others.

Elvis Week 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis' passing.

BCC PROMS PRESENTS OKLAHOMA! which takes place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on August 11, 2017.

Tony nominee Robert Fairchild and Olivier nominee Scarlett Strallen will star as Will Parker and Laurey.

Nathaniel Hackmann stars as Curly, Belinda Lang as Aunt Eller, David Seadon-Young as Jud Fry, Lizzy Connoly as Ado Annie, and Marcus Brigstocke as Ali Hakim.

The eight-week BBC summer season of classical music concerts and events, which continues through September 9, will present the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, conducted by John Wilson, for a two-performance engagement on August 11. This first collaboration of Rodgers & Hammerstein II began a classic which tells the story of rambunctious cowboy Curly and his courtship of the equally headstrong Laurey against the backdrop of the title territory.

Rachel Kavanaugh is stage director for this semi-staged production.

IAMA THEATRE COMPANY presents staged readings of four new plays over the course of one weekend in this semi-annual series.

Thursday, August 10: Dooley Street: Between the Sandbar and the Shore by Brian Otano, directed by Bert V. Royal.

Friday, August 11: Just Dust by Charlie Kelly, directed by Robyn Wholey.

Saturday, August 12: Mama Metallica by Sigrid Gilmer, directed by Deena Solonow.

Sunday, August 13: Palmyra by Daria Polatin, directed by Alexis Jacknow.

The readings take place at the IAMA Theatre Company @ Sacred Fools Theater in Los Angeles.

An Anti-Suffrage one act satire will be presented by Michele LaRue, in period costume, portraying a fictional speaker on August 13, 2017.

"Woman suffrage is the reform against nature," declares Marie Jenney Howe - the unlikely, but irresistibly likeable, heroine. "Ladies, get what you want. Make home a hell on earth - but do it in womanly way! That is so much more dignified than dropping a piece of paper into a ballot box."

?Howe, a pro-suffragist, wrote her "Anti-Suffrage Monologue" in 1912 - eight years before women won the vote. Her fictional speaker believes her efforts as a "womanly woman" will keep the Home intact and save the Nation from anarchy.

LaRue is a professional actress who tours nationally with a repertoire of shows by turn-of-the-previous-century American writers. The production was originally directed by LaRue's late husband Warren Kliewer for New Jersey’s The East Lynne Theater Co., which he founded in 1980 to revive American plays and literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The East Lynne Theater Company presents the performance which will be followed by a lecture, given by LaRue, and then a Q&A. The location is The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, New Jersey where ELTC is in residence.

. This special event is co-sponsored with Cape May Forum.

THE SAN JOSE JAZZ SUMMER FEST takes place August 11-13, 2017 in San Jose, CA.

Performers include:

Cross-genre mega-stars Chris Botti and Angelique Kidjo. Giants of straight ahead jazz like Javon Jackson, George Cables, Randy Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Jimmy Cobb and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Funk powerhouses George Clinton and Maceo Parker. Grammy winners Pacific Mambo Orchestra and Mads Tolling. International discoveries like Cyrille Aimee and Emilio Solla and emerging voices like Danny Green and The Seshen.

ABC HAS DEEP SIXED PLANS TO AIR DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID LIVE on October 3, 2017, as first reported by USA Today.

Budget constraints was the reason being circulated.

The two hour special would have combined the 1989 animated film with live musical performances from "celebrity artists" performing Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s songs from the flick. The pair won two Oscars for the movie, one for Best Score and another for Best Song, Under the Sea. Their song Kiss the Girl also earned an Academy Award nomination.

The television special concept was inspired by the celebrity-studded concerts that took place at the Hollywood Bowl last year. The cast included Sara Bareilles as Ariel, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian the Crab, Darren Criss as Prince Eric, Rebel Wilson as Ursula the Sea Witch, Norm Lewis repeating his Broadway role as King Triton, Joshua Colley as Flounder, and John Stamos as Chef Louis.

The ABC announcement caught many off-guard as the sets were already being built.

Well done, Sir. Prince Philip, 96, has officially retired from public duties. Photo: Kensington Palace
Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, conducted his last public engagement as part of his official public life on August 2, 2017.

The occasion was a Royal Marine's Parade at Buckingham Palace.

The husband of Queen Elizabeth II has carried out a total of 22,219 solo engagements and 637 solo overseas visits since 1952. He's also authored 14 books and has given 5,496 speeches.

However, His Royal Highness may still attend events alongside The Queen from time to time.

In fact, the ageless Prince Philip is on the official schedule to accompany his wife September 4, 2017 as she opens the Queensferry Crossing at South Queensferry. Afterwards Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will attend a ceremony at the Cube Arena, King Malcolm Drive, Rosyth, to mark the opening of the new Firth of Forth road bridge.

TODAY, AUGUST 6 is National Root Beer Float Day. Monday is International Beer Day. Tuesday and National Frozen Custard Day and National Zucchini Day. Wednesday is National Rice Pudding Day. Thursday is National S’mores Day and National Banana Split Day. National Panini Day is Friday and National Julienne Fries Day is Saturday.

THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS announced the names of the class of 2017. They are producer Norman Lear, Cuban-American singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan, music mogul Lionel Richie, dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade.and hip-hop star LL Cool J.

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.

The 40th annual award recipients will be feted at a gala on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage December 3, which will broadcast on NBC December 26, 2017.

A LEGENDARY ROMANCE Music and lyrics by Geoff Morrow. Book by Timothy Prager.

Directed by Lonny Price.

Featuring Jose-Maria Aguila, Lora Lee Gayer, Roe Hartrampf, Maurice Jones, and Jeff McCarthy.

"Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Lonny Price directs an intimate new musical by composer/lyricist Geoff Morrow and book writer Timothy Prager that delivers us to the intersection of loyalty, love, and ambition. Back in 1950, film producer Joseph Lindy (Jeff McCarthy) was on top of the world, making hit after hit with the love of his life and leading lady, Billie Hathaway (Lora Lee Gayer). Nearly four decades later, retired and forgotten, he must approve for release a version of his abandoned, cinematic masterpiece, an autobiographical film now altered irrevocably by a young producer. Haunted by the choices he made years ago, Joseph’s story hangs in the balance as he reconstructs the film, his memory and, ultimately, his legacy."

On the Main Stage through August 20 at Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA.

HAMILTON the Tony Award winning mega-hit with book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

Directed by Thomas Kail.

Alex Lacamoire music supervisor, orchestrator, co-arranger.

Choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler.

Hamilton is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.

Starring Michael Luwoye who was the Alexander Hamilton alternate on Broadway, takes on the starring role in this first tour. Joining Luwoye is Tony nominee Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr. Broadway veteran Rory O’Malley who originated the role of Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon appearing as King George III. He joined the Hamilton Broadway production in 2016 and reprises the role in this first national tour.

The cast will also include Rubén J. Carbajal as John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton; Jordan Donica as Marquis De Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson; Amber Iman as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds; Isaiah Johnson as George Washington; Solea Pfeiffer as Eliza Hamilton; Mathenee Treco as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, and Emmy Raver-Lampman, who plays Angelica Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law and soul mate. Raver-Lampman has been a part of Hamilton since it opened on Broadway in August 2015. She started as a member of the ensemble.

Completing the cast are Ryan Alvarado, Raymond Baynard, Amanda Braun, Daniel Ching, Karli Dinardo, Jeffery Duffy, Jennifer Geller, Jacob Guzman, Julia Harriman, Afra Hines, Sabrina Imamura, Lauren Kias, Yvette Lu, Desmond Newson, Desmond Nunn, Josh Andrés Rivera, Raven Thomas, Ryan Vasquez, Keenan D. Washington, and Andrew Wojtal.

Starting August 11 at the Hollywood Pantages in Los Angeles through December 30,2017. It has also been announced that Hamilton which just closed in San Francisco will return there next year as part of the second national tour..

HAMLET by William Shakespeare.

Directed by Barry Edelstein.

"To be or not to be, that is the question.”

Shakespeare’s exhilarating tragedy Hamlet returns to the outdoor Festival Stage of The Old Globe in San Diego, bringing Shakespeare’s classic to life under the San Diego stars.

The cast features some of the nation’s finest classical actors:

One of the greatest plays ever written - revenge thriller, ghost story, psychological drama, political epic, family saga, all packed with unforgettable characters, theatrical masterstrokes, and world famous lines. The Prince of Denmark comes home from college to find his father dead, his mother remarried to his uncle, and a spine-chilling apparition roaming the palace grounds.

Hamlet plays August 6 – September 10, 2017 at The Old Globe in San Diego, CA.

AS YOU LIKE IT by William Shakespeare, brought to joyful new life in a music filled production with Stephen Schwartz composing an original, jazz era-inspired score for Shakespeare’s play, set in the 1920s.

Directed by Tony Award winner John Doyle.

Everyone needs to escape to the country sometimes. In As You Like It, join Rosalind, one of Shakespeare's greatest women, as she travels into the merry Forest of Arden leaving behind the politics of the city. Disguising herself as a man and accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the clown, they embark on a hilarious and romantic journey where she finds love, laughter, and maybe even herself.

Costumes by Ann Hould-Ward.

A co-production with Classic Stage Company in New York City. August 8 - September 3 at Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor, NY.

COMPANY a 1970 concept musical by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth.

Directed by Barrington Stage Company Artistic Director Julianne Boyd.

Starring Aaron Tveit as Bobby. The production will also feature Ellen Harvey as Joanne, Lawrence Street as Harry, Jeanette Bayardelle as Sarah, Kate Loprest as Susan, Paul A. Schaefer as Peter, Jane Pfitsch as Jenny, James Ludwig as David, Lauren Marcus as Amy, Joseph Spieldenner as Paul, Peter Reardon as Larry, Nora Schell as Marta, and Rebecca Kuznick as Kathy.

Performances will run August 10 through September 2, with an opening night set for August 13 at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA.

THE BODYGUARD based on the smash hit film, the award-winning musical which had a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan.

Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. A breathtakingly romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a host of irresistible classic songs including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and one of the biggest-selling songs of all time, I Will Always Love You.

Starring Grammy Award nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron.

Also featured are Justin Mills, Alex Corrado, Jarid Faubel, Jonathan Hadley, Kevelin B. Jones III, Jorge Paniagua, and Jasmin Richardson.

The ensemble includes: Arielle Campbell, Brendon Chan, Willie Dee, Megan Elyse Fulmer, Emily Jenda, Alejandra Matos, Bradford Rahmlow, Benjamin Rivera, Sean Rozanski, Matthew Schmidt, Jaquez André Sims, Maria Cristina Slye, Lauren Tanner and Naomi C. Walley.

August 8 - August 13, 2017 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri.

NEWSIES a Disney Theatrics stage musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein.

Direction and choreography by Chris Bailey.

Musical direction by Michael Horsley.

The cult 1992 film became a smash 2012 Broadway musical, and Newsies now makes its long-awaited Muny premiere. Newsies reveals the thrilling story of the Newsboy Strike of 1899 – how a bunch of rag tag orphans took on the mighty Joe Pulitzer and nearly brought down the city of New York.

The cast includes Ta’Rea Campbell (Medda Larkin), Daniel Quadrino (Crutchie), Spencer Davis Milford (Davey), and Gabriel Cytron (Les), who join the previously announced Jay Armstrong Johnson (Jack Kelly), Tessa Grady (Katherine Plumber), and Jeff McCarthy (Joseph Pulitzer).

August 7-13 at The Muny in St. Louis, MO.

DAMN YANKEES with a book by George Abbott and Douglas Wallop with music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. Based on the novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop.

Original direction by George Abbott.

This multi Tony Award-winning Best Musical is devilishly clever. Mega-fan Joe Boyd trades his soul to the devil, Mr. Applegate, for "one good Long ball hitter" for his team, the Washington Senators. Mr. Applegate grants his wish, turning Joe into a 22 year old sports superstar who can deliver the hit to get the win over the New York Yankees. There's a hitch. Joe must go back to his wife before 9 pm on the final game day if he doesn't want Mr. Applegate to get his soul. You don't have to be a baseball fan to view this musical as a home run hit.

Featuring Kim Arnett, Stephen Berger, Jason Graae, Danette Holden, Jeff Howell, Justin Keyes, Mary Jo Mecca, Dallas Padoven, Lindsay Roginski, Zach Trimmer, Lynne Wintersteller, and Ron Wisniski.

The Ensemble includes : Lindsey Bracco, Doug Carfrae, Meghan Faddis, Devon Hadsell, Rashan James II, Eric Anthony Johnson, Justin Keats, Adam Lendermon, Bryan Charles Moore, Dennis O’Bannion, Cooper Taggard, Connor Wince, and Jessica Wockenfuss.

August 8-13 at Broadway in the Round at Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento, CA.


WILLIE NELSON alive and in person showed up last Friday to perform at the Big Band Jamboree in Alberta, Canada. laying to rest another of those fake rumors that he had died. Today, August 6, he stars at the Rockin' River Music Fest in Merritt, AB. On Tuesday he's on stage at the at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights, WA with Kacey Musgraves. Wednesday finds Willie and Kacey entertaining at Marymoor Park Concerts in Redmond, WA. On Friday the gig is at the Edgefield in Troutdale, OR. For a guy who was declared dead in print, he sure had a busy week.

STEVE MARTIN, MARTIN SHORT and the Stone Canyon Band entertain next Sunday, August 13, at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, AZ.

NEIL DIAMOND performs Tuesday, August 8, at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. On Thursday he opens a split two nighter at the Forum in Inglewood, Ca. The second show is on Saturday, August 12.

THE TEN TENORS continue their Down Under tour with a stop Wednesday, August 9, at the Events Centre in Caloundra, Australia. Friday finds them at the QPAC Concert Hall in Brisbane. Saturday's performance takes place at the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba, Australia.

COLDPLAY brings their tour to the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC beginning a two night gig on Tuesday, August 8. On Saturday, August 12 the show is in Minneapolis, MN at the U.S. Bank Stadium.

GREEN DAY star at the Usana Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City, UT on Monday, August 7. Wednesday's stop is in Englewood, CO at Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre. Friday's performance is in Kansas City, MO at the Sprint Center and on Saturday they are on stage at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE.

IDINA MENZEL entertains Friday, August 11 at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre in Rochester, MI. Saturday's gig is at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, IL. Next Sunday, she can be enjoyed at the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL Voted Best Country & Western Band by Rolling Stone performs Saturday, August 12 at Sunset Center in Carmel, CA.


SAM SHEPARD Oscar-nominated actor and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, died Thursday July 27, 2017 at his home in Kentucky from complications related to Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was 73.

He produced 44 plays and numerous books, memoirs and short stories. His 1979 play Buried Child won the Pulitzer for drama.

He appeared in dozens of films, and was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeagerin in 1983's astronaut drama The Right Stuff.

The Sam Shepard Papers at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin covers Shepard's full career, and additions to the collection were regularly made by the author. An additional collection of Shepard's papers can be found at the Wittliff collections of Southwestern Writers, Texas State University, and comprise some 26 boxes of material.

From 1969 to 1984, he was married to actress O-Lan Jones, with whom he has one son, Jesse Mojo Shepard (born 1970). From 1970 to 1971, Shepard was involved in an extramarital affair with Patti Smith. After ending his relationship with Smith, Shepard relocated with his wife and son to London in the early 1970s. Returning to America in 1975, he moved to the 20-acre Flying Y Ranch in Mill Valley, California.

Shepard met Academy Award-winning actress Jessica Lange on the set of the film Frances, in which they were both acting. He moved in with her in 1983, and they were together for nearly 30 years; they separated in 2009. They have two children, Hannah Jane (born 1985) and Samuel Walker Shepard (born 1987).

Ihe lights of the Great White Way were dimmed for a minute last Wednesday in memory of the man who penned many plays performed both on and off-Broadway.

“Sam Shepard was a prolific storyteller who created provocative, thoughtful, and exciting work for Broadway, off-Broadway, and film," said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, in a statement Tuesday. "His original voice was a definite draw for audiences and had an undeniable influence on other artists.

“He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues," St. Martin concluded.

MARIANN MAYBERRY a 24-year ensemble member of Steppenwold and Lookingglass Theatres died August 1, 2017 after a long, private battle with breast cancer, it was announced by Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna Shapiro and Executive Director David Schmitz. She was 52.

"As dear friends, ensemble members, donors, staff, artists, audience members and members of the Steppenwolf and Chicago communities, we all will dearly miss the powerful presence Mariann brought to our lives and the stage. Her remarkable talent, humor, strength and bravery were a gift to all those who knew her or saw her on stage. We are so lucky to have had her in our Steppenwolf family. She was greatly loved," stated the announcement.

She is survived by her husband fellow actor Scott Jaeck, with whom she shared the stage in the Broadway run of Tracy Letts' Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County. Mayberry created the role of Karen Weston.

Her other appearance on Broadway the Steppenwolf production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 2001 i which she appeared as Candy Starr) and frequent collaborator Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, in which Mayberry appeared for almost a year.

Steppenworlf announced that the Tuesday, August 1, 2017 performance of Hir " will be dark, theatre lights dimmed and Mariann’s friends and loved ones are invited to Front Bar, to share memories in her honor."

Next Column: August 13, 2017
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Laura Deni

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