Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: December 11, 2016
By: Laura Deni


Josn Groban and Denée Benton. Official production photo by Chad Batka.
Get transported into an elegant Russian cabaret room for a mesmerizing story performed by a stellar cast.

Dave Malloy executed quadruple duty of penning the music, lyrics, book and orchestrations for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, which he adapted from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

In book form, it's a classic but a long read. Some might even find it too intellectual.

Malloy and director Rachel Chavkin have managed to take 70 pages from a wordy tome and turn it into an imaginative and inventive Broadway musical, having moved from off-Broadway Ars Nova to the Imperial Theatre.

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 follows Natasha (Denée Benton), a young girl who forms a relationship with the attractive rebel Anatole (Lucas Steele) while her betrothed Andrey (Nicholas Belton) is off fighting. Andrey's best friend Pierre (Josh Groban) remains on high alert as the new romance blossoms.

In this open ended run, with tickets on sale through September 4, 2017, the stage of the Imperial Theatre has been redesigned as an elegant Russian cabaret room with sets by Mimi Lien. Patrons are greeted by formally lit, gilt-framed portraits, paintings and mirrors covering the red velvet walls. It's an immersive performance with choreographer Sam Pinkleton seeminglessly having the actors and musicians circulating throughout the theatre, intermingling with the audience through the utilization of interior staircases and aisles, which lead to the orchestra and mezzanine levels - meaning that some of the performers are managing several hundred stairs a night and probably don't need to go to a gym.

Cosmic star inspired lighting, including marvelous light bursting moveable chandeliers by designer Bradley King are moody and impressive. So are the co-mingled stately period, ethnic and punk costumes by Tony Award winner Paloma Young which are complemented by the hair and wig designs of Leah J. Loukas. The sound by Nicholas Pope is perfect.

Or Matias ably conducts the orchestra which isn't in one confined location, rather spread across the set.

The textures of the eclectic music are as layered and well crafted as a museum quality Russian tapestry. Compelling organic to synthetic sounds, the musical results are enthralling. Music is also the performance. There is basically no dialogue.

Many audience members sit onstage.

Josn Groban in The Great Comet. Official production photo by Chad Batka.
Fun isn't the first word that comes to mind when one mentions Tolstoy. In this production the word fun is one of the first words. Others are excellent, entertaining and delightful.

That doesn't mean you can doze through the show. Tolstoy is complicated and you need to pay attention. Even the opening number instructs the audience to read their playbill explaining that many characters have multiple names. Categorized as a pop or chamber opera, don't let that snooty sound keep you away. The show is pure pleasure.

Making his Broadway debut, tenor Josh Groban as anguished Pierre is brilliant. As expected, his singing voice is superb. He's also a perfectionist who learned how to play the accordion so that he doesn't embarrass himself or insult the audience.

Also outstanding are soprano Denée Benton making her Broadway debut as Natasha Rostova and Lucas Steele as the self loving Anatole. For his performance as the handsome, dimwitted cad Steele won the 2014 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Previously his credits included appearing in The Threepenny Opera with Cyndi Lauper and Alan Cumming. He is one of only two performers who has been in this show since its inception.

Benton appeared as Nabulungi in the West End and U.S. national tours of The Book of Mormon.

The entire cast is enthralling: Brittain Ashford as Sonya, Gelsey Bell as Princess Mary, Nick Choksi as Dolokhov, Amber Gray as Helene, Grace McLean as Marya D, Paul Pinto as Balaga. Also Sumayya Ali, Courtney Bassett, Josh Canfield, Ken Clark, Erica Dorfler, Lulu Fall, Ashley Flanagan, Nick Gaswirth, Azudi Onyejekwe, Pearl Rhein, Heath Saunders, Scott Stangland, Katrina Yaukey and Lauren Zakrin.

A most entertaining show.

Music supervision by Sonny Paladino; music coordinator, John Miller; technical supervision by Hudson Theatrical Associates; production stage manager, Karyn Meek; company manager, Roseanna Sharrow.

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A Christmas tree at the Palace of Holyroodhouse/Royal Collection Trust Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016
Sparkling lights, frosted trees, decorated wreaths and the Royal Dining Room table laid in festive style await visitors. The Great Stair leading to the Palace's historic State Apartments is draped with garlands and wreaths and lit-up with twinkling lights. In the Royal Dining Room, the table is laid with pieces from a silver service presented by Scottish benefactor Sir Alexander Grant to George V and Queen Mary in 1935 to mark their Silver Jubilee. The table is also decorated with wreaths of fruits and flowers, inspired by the historical plasterwork and woodcarvings seen throughout the State Apartments.

In the Great Gallery visitors will see a 15ft Christmas tree decked with white and silver fruits and flowers.

Get into the festive spirit with special family activities available every day. Pick up a festive trail to search for the hidden presents, and visit the Family Room to make a wish on a very special wish tree.

The Magic of Christmas Past, family event day takes place Saturday, December 12 when visitors can join a storyteller in the Great Gallery by the fireplace and hear stories of glorious feasts. Dress up and have your face painted before taking part in a family ceilidh.

Recitals for Wrigglers is slated for Thursday, December 15 which includes an entertaining classical concert for parents and care givers, with sensory play, stories and activities for children aged 4 and under.

Through January 5, 2017 at The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Christmas Card, designed by J.C. Horsley for Sir Henry Cole, 1843. Museum no. L.3293-1987. Photo: V&A Museum
that's what started the commercialization of Christmas, which many today consider a bane of modern life. It has its origins in the 1840s thanks to Sir Henry Cole, the Victoria and Albert Museum's founding director.

At that time Cole was a civil servant (Government worker) in Britain who had helped set-up the new Public Record Office now known as the Post Office, where he was an Assistant Keeper. He wasn't so much interested in wishing people a 'Merry Christmas' as he was in drumming up more business for the post office by involving ordinary, everyday people.

Christmas commercialization was born.

Cole commissioned the world's first Christmas cards which was illustrated by his friend John Callcott Horsley on May 1, 1843. That Christmas season Cole sent the card. That particular card is now in the Word & Image department of the V&A.

Two batches totaling 2,050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each.

The central picture showed three generations of a family raising a toast to the card's recipient: on either side were scenes of charity, with food and clothing being given to the poor. Allegedly the image of the family drinking wine together proved controversial, because it appears that a child is being offered the alcoholic beverage.

At Christmas 1873, the lithograph firm Prang and Mayer began creating greeting cards for the popular market in England. The firm began selling the Christmas card in America in 1874, thus becoming the first printer to offer cards in America. Its owner, Louis Prang, is sometimes called the "father of the American Christmas card." By the 1880s, Prang was producing over five million cards a year by using the chromolithography process of printmaking.

Prang's first cards featured flowers, plants, and children.

In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, who are still one of the biggest card makers today.

Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection is considered the world's most historical Christmas card collection now housed at the Manchester Metropolitan University, in the Sir Kenneth Green Library, on the All Saints Campus.

The collection consists of a section of 32,000 Victorian and Edwardian greeting cards by major publishers of the day. It includes cards printed by hand like those produced by Sockl and Nathan and also mass-produced cards, a subsequent production method, such as those produced by Marcus Ward & Co and Raphael Tuck & Sons.

The collection is catalogued in Laura Seddon's book A Gallery of Greetings.


THE NEW YORK POPS stages a family event at Carnegie Hall to celebrate the holiday season on Sunday, December 18, 2016. Patrons will also enjoy a post-concert party, with delicious snacks and complimentary family portraits and a visit with Santa.

The New York Pops performs a musical tribute to 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Song, dance, and lots of fun surprises bring Clement Clarke Moore's classic poem to life with a festive helping of Yuletide cheer.

Contributions from this event directly support The New York Pops' PopsEd music education programs.


is a romping, delightful listen. Right from the introduction by musical director, arranger and Busch's wingman Tom Judson, who not only can play the dickens out of the piano, but can elegantly sing. He does so with Star by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, which brings on the legendary Charles Busch.

Backed by that entertaining piano playing Busch delivers a memorial cabaret performance at Live at 54 Below in New York City. That was captured on a recording June 10-11, 2016 and now released on Broadway Records. This is a wonderful fun fest. Busch can't be called a singer as his main talent. In fact, some might say he isn't really a singer. What he is - is a unique, talented performer. He's mesmerizing.

An engaging conversationalist, Busch has a real gift for entertaining gab. Those talk bits are easily understood and explain how this performance came together. The stories are laugh filled and fun - ranging from memories of his father to how the IRS feels about his income tax return deductions. This is one time when a cabaret star talking isn't boring. You could listen to Busch tell stories all night long and come away wanting more.

There are musical numbers. His repertoire is eclectic, as is he. His photographs in the accompanying booklet by Frederic Aranda, David Rodgers and Michael Wakefield, can make one think of performers ranging from Marlene Dietrich to comedian Kathy Griffin.

The drag performer, who is a two-time MAC Award winner and Tony nominee, offers Bill from Showboat. While Helen Morgan delivered an emotional, dramatic singing rendition, Busch has a more talk the song, narrative kind of delivery, which is also heartfelt.

The more elaborate piano arrangements by Judson are a perfect compliment to Busch's limited vocal range.

As for singing, some of the most enjoyable singing is when he teams up with Judson on duets such as Summer Wind/That Sunday, That Summer. and the sensational Road to Morocco.

One of his most dramatic presentations is a combination of the powerful and poignant With So Little To Be Sure Of /Too Many Mornings, and A Parade in Town coupled with the hopeful Sail Away, in which Busch displays his best vocal chops.

Mastered by Greg Reierson Rare form Mastering, this CD comes to a too soon conclusion with the up-beat Those Were The Days followed by the sweet Rainbow Connections.

Charles Busch performing with Tom Judson who is Busch's musical director, arranger and wingman.
As for Judson who has served as Busch's musical direction since 2011, he does receive deserved cover billing. Much publicity has been given to the two years Judson spent as an award winning gay pornographic actor under the stage name Gus Mattox.

Judson did national tours of 42nd Street and Cabaret. He composed the score to Whit Sillman's indie film Metropolitan and has written songs for Sesame Street, among others. However, when trying to research him, his substantial musical ability is basically hidden under that proverbial bushel barrel. Broadway To Vegas decided to find out more about his musical skills.

"In terms of my musical education, I’m completely self-taught. Both in terms of playing the piano and writing arrangements," he replied. "Apart from one year of piano lessons in 9th grade, everything I know came from just doing it. I have a good ear and I listen closely to arrangements that I like to see how they’re constructed."


He could earn a very good living as a piano player - not many people can.

This is a wonderful CD that is sure to be played, rather than collecting dust on a shelf. You don't need to have seen Busch perform to enjoy this CD. However, listening to it will make you want to see the show - which you can do if you are lucky enough to score tickets for his return show at Feinstein's/54 Below on New Year's Eve.


NATIONAL CHORALE under the Artistic Direction of Everett McCorvey, continues its 2016-2017 Season at Lincoln Center in New York City with the 49th presentation of Handel's Messiah Sing-In on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at the David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, NYC. The performance features Eric Brenner, Roderick George, Kevin Maynor and Jessica Sandidge.

Join an audience-chorus of almost 3,000 voices under the batons of 17 eminent conductors. Celebrate choral singing and sing in New York's most joyous and popular Holiday Season music event.

THE HANDEL HOUSE CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE is their biggest concert of the year. The Handel House Christmas Showcase takes place at the very church Handel himself worshiped, bringing together Christmas past, in the form of carols dating back to the Georgian period, Christmas present, in it being a celebration of everything they have done in 2016, and Christmas future with ther solo performers being the very best young, early music performers. St. George’s Hanover Square in London on December 15, 2016.

HILL COUNTRY CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR a different time is evoked in this theatrical presentation of a live radio broadcast - a variety show from the 1940’s. Along with classic comedy routines, the spirit of Christmas in that bygone era will be evoked with songs like Oh, Holy Night, What Child is This? and Baby, It’s Cold Outside. The audience will be encouraged to sing along with this delightful holiday special.

The cast combines members of the Hill Country Community Theatre Players, as well as members from the Bluebonnet Chorale, including Jake Adams, Jennifer Brust, Carol Epstein, Jared Fields, Donnace Harrod-Knox, Randy Hilmer, Kyle Hirning, Gerry Kirby, Linda Mayo, Sharon Penny, Melissa Rowe, Ryan Schnitzler, Seth Smith and Sally Stemac.

The songs will include all of your holiday favorites.

Kay Baker and Patrick Lescarbeau will host the event which will be presented for two performances only, on Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18 at the The Hill Country Community Theatre in Cottonwood Shores, TX .

WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION takes place December 16-17 at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City.

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without Irish Rep's annual celebration of Irish, American, and world music, dance, and storytelling with Mick Moloney, Athena Tergis, and a cast of America’s top Irish and world musicians including Brendan Dolan, Liz Hanley, Tamar Korn, Billy McComiskey, Niall O’Leary, John Roberts, Leni Sloan, MacDara Vallely, and special guests.

This year, Irish Rep welcomes Macdara Vallely to direct a ritual performance inspired by the Celtic winter solstice, combining mumming, poetry, drama, song, and dance from Ireland and beyond.

JAZZ TAKES A HOLIDAY featuring Dick Lowenthal Orchestra with vocalist Steve Leeds on Friday, December 23, 2016 at Arts Garage in Delray Beach, Florida.

This unique program includes a rare, live performance of The Nutcracker Suite by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky as arranged by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Rounding out the program are big band versions of traditional Chanukah selections.

VIBRAPHONIST TOMMY VIG who now lives in Hungary with his wife Mia of the famed Kim Sisters, tells Broadway To Vegas that Hungarians love holidays. The couple regularly performs, including a recent gig at the Budapest Jazz Club. Noticing that both Menorahs and Christmas trees can be seen in stage decorations in some concert photographs, Broadway To Vegas asked a few questions.

"Hungarians celebrate everything, they love holidays, because they do not have to go to work," he joked. "We do concerts regardless of the religious background: we care only about the music."

Recently "several Korean girlfriends of Mia's came to see us, so she improvised a Korean folk song Arirang, performing for them (in Korean) and the Hungarian audience loved it!"

The Kim Sisters and Tommy Vig spent decades starring at the now imploded Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. Next year Mia and Tommy will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They were married in Sin City.


THE THEATRE ASPEN SCHOOL presents Big Fish, The Musical directed and choreographed by Marisa Post with music direction by Terry Lee takes place December 15-17, 2016.

Theatre Aspen offers year-round classes, productions and workshops for students of all ages. Scholarships, discounts and payment plans available. Theatre Aspen School in Aspen, CO has never turned away a student due to financial need.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY will be screened on Thursday, December 15 at the Science Museum in London which is the only European venue to screen the flick in 70mm IMAX film

The first ever Star Wars standalone film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will have a screening three times a day. IMAX 70mm film projection combines the brightest, clearest images at almost 10 times the resolution of standard 35mm film projection with specially created sound for a high quality viewing experience.

In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes bands together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

Directed by Gareth Edwards, Rogue One stars an international cast including Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen and Riz Ahmed.

SAG-AFTRA FOUNDATION stages a Business Panel: Performing in Live Broadcast Musicals on Tuesday, December 13 at the Robin Williams Center in New York City.

Marrying the most thrilling aspects of stage and screen, the recent resurgence of networks broadcasting live musicals has invigorated prime time “appointment viewing” or “event television.”

What promises to be an evening of lively discourse that will examine this vibrant storytelling hybrid from the actor's perspective. Topics of discussion include: casting, technique, the rehearsal process, speedy maneuvering between multiple sets and sound stages, lightning fast wardrobe changes, the genre’s special format and creative team models, the challenges associated with commercial breaks, encountering surprises like unpredictable weather, and viewership engagement via social media.

Moderated by Richard Ridge, the panelists include: Tony Award, Olivier Award, Emmy Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award winning Rob Ashford who was the director/choreographer for Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live, Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll who appeared in Sound of Music Live!, Shanice Scales-Williams who starred in The Wiz Live! and Noah Robbins who appeared in Grease Live!

YOU'D THINK that the post office would know that Christmas is a busy time of year and put on some extra help. When I called to track a lost package, the mechanical voice told me the wait time to speak to somebody was between 1 hour and 11 minutes to 1 hour and 43 minutes.

DECEMBER 16 is National Chocolate- Covered Anything Day.


ACTORS' EQUITY has prevailed in a Los Angeles court battle involving pay for actors.

On Thursday, December 8, U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter dismissed the Asner vs. Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) lawsuit “without prejudice,” meaning that the plaintiffs can file suit again if they wish.

The ruling means that Los Angeles’ 99-seat theatres can't circumvent the state's wage law and must pay actors minimum wage.

Actors currently make as little as $7 a day at some small venues. In April, AEA‘s national council voted to require 99-seat theatres in Los Angeles to pay actors no less than minimum wage - currently $9 an hour, and scheduled to rise to $10.50 an hour on January 1, 2017 - despite strong opposition from the local actors at those theatres.

Ed Asner, former president of the Screen Actors Guild, was listed as a lead plaintiff along with Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Tom Bowe, and French Stewart, among others. They filed the lawsuit against the stage actors union in December 2015 on behalf of the actors in the Los Angeles area who desired to working for little or no salary to garner more stage experience.

The actors and small theater owners opposed the higher pay plan arguing that the wage would be an untenable financial burden for small theaters, too drastic a shift from the previous system that allowed for token payments for performances and no wage for rehearsals. They feared the union demand would stifle the theatres and result in substantially less work; in some cases, theatres even being forced to close.

AEA hailed Hatter's dismissal the suit, saying, “The Judge’s ruling reflects the care taken by the union to follow the appropriate procedural steps outlined in the 1989 Settlement Agreement. The dismissal of this lawsuit, which we had always viewed as a frivolous and costly legal matter, is a victory for our union.”

The union statement acknowledged, “Not everyone in our union agreed with changes in policy that our council put in place in April of 2015. We understand those opposing views; however, many of our members needed more than the nominal performance stipends, which had been the longtime practice. These are not unpaid internships - this is work.”

It concluded, “Now that this matter has been addressed internally and validated by a federal court ruling, we can devote our energies to working with Los Angeles’ theatre producers to help them find the best ways to employ our members.”

In response the Plaintiffs announced on Friday, December 9, that they will continue to fight for the survival of the 99-seat theater system.

Gary Grossman, an actor, producer and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, stated that, “We are very disappointed in yesterday’s decision by Judge Terry Hatter to dismiss our lawsuit against Actors’ Equity Association without allowing us an opportunity to plead our case in court. The lawsuit was brought to challenge the Union’s new rule preventing its members from volunteering in creative theatrical projects at small 99-seat theaters. Our goals have not changed. While the Union may hope that the judge’s decision will spell the end of Los Angeles’ unique intimate theater experiment and force the closing of a majority of the city’s non-profit 99-seat theaters, we intend to continue our fight to preserve this important and valuable part of our City’s cultural life.”

The Plaintiffs announced that they are studying the Court’s decision and considering their options, including possible appeal to the federal appeals court.

THE RECORDING ACADEMY has welcomed the class of nominees for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Top nominees are Beyoncé (9), Drake (8), Rihanna (8), Kanye West (8), and Chance The Rapper (7). Selected from nearly 22,000 submissions across 84 categories, the nominations reflect the range of artistic innovation that defined the year in music.

The Recording Academy will present the Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 12, 2017, live from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and broadcast on the CBS Television Network.

For a complete list of nominees, click here.

10 FINALISTS ANNOUNCED for 2017 Music Educator Award, presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation.

The 10 music teachers from 10 cities across 7 states are:

Erica Breitbarth Reagan IB High School in Milwaukee Wis.
David Dehner Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville Calif.
Jose Diaz MacArthur Senior High School in Houston Texas
Keith Hancock Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita Calif.
Elizabeth Hankins Lakewood High School in Lakewood Ohio
Keith Hart Sr. KIPP Believe College Prep in New Orleans La.
Henry Miller Sierra Vista Middle School in Irvine Calif.
Richard Nickerson Windham High School in Windham Maine
Ulli Reiner Bernardo Heights Middle School in Poway Calif.
Nicole Thompson Taylor Road Middle School in Johns Creek Ga.

Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students' lives. The 2017 honoree will be flown to Los Angeles, and will be recognized during Grammy Week in February 2017. The recipient will also attend the 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony and a variety of events. In addition, the recipient will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.

OTHELLO by William Shakespeare.

Directed by Tony Award winner Sam Gold.

The production features David Wilson Barnes, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Rachel Brosnahan, Daniel Craig, Blake DeLong, Glenn Fitzgerald, Slate Holmgren, Anthony Michael Lopez, Matthew Maher, Nikki Massoud, David Oyelowo, Kyle Vincent Terry, and Finn Wittrock.

Scenic design by Andrew Lieberman, costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Jane Cox, sound design by Bray Poor, and fight direction by Thomas Schall. Andrew Wade serves as voice coach and Michael Sexton serves as dramaturg and text consultant.

Officially opens December 12, 2016, and will run through January 18, 2017 at New York Theatre Workshop, New York City.

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS book by Craig Lucas; Music by Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin; Lyrics by Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin; Musical score adapted, arranged, and supervised by Rob Fisher.

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon.

David Andrews Rogers Conductor and musical director.

The Tony Award-winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. The magic and romance of Paris in perfect harmony with unforgettable songs from George and Ira Gershwin in the show that earned more awards than any other musical in the 2015 season.

Starring Garen Schribner as Gerry Mulligan and Sara Esty as Lise Dassin.

The Cast includes: Etai Benson, Emily Ferranti, Gayton Scott, Nick Spangler, Leigh-Ann Esty, Ryan Steele, Karolina Blonski, Brittany Bohn, Stephen Brower, Randy Castillo, Jessica Cohen, Barton Cowperthwaite, Alexa De Barr, Caitlin Meighan, Don Noble, Alexandra Pernice, David Prottas, Lucas Segovia, Kyle Vaughn, Laurie Wells, Dana Winkle, Erica Wong, and Blake Zelesnikar,

Swings: Jace Coronado, Erika Hebron, Christopher M. Howard, Colby Q. Lindeman, Nathalie Marrable, Tom Mattingly, Alida Michal, Gia Mongell, Sayiga Eugene Peabody and Danielle Santos.

Understudies: Stephen Brower, Jace Coronado, Barton Cowperthwaite, Erika Hebron, Christopher M. Howard, Colby Q. Lindeman , Nathalie Marrable, Tom Mattingly, Caitlin Meighan, Alida Michal, Gia Mongell, Alexandra Pernice, David Prottas, Danielle Santos, Kyle Vaughn , Laurie Wells and Dana Winkle.

Set and costume design by Bob Crowley. Lighting by Natasha Katz. John Weston sound design. Projection Design by 59 Productions. Seymour Red Press music coordinator. Bill Elliott arrangements.

Music orchestrated by Christopher Austin and Bill Elliott; Dance arrangements by Sam Davis; Associate Director: Dontee Kiehn; Associate Choreographer: Sean Maurice Kelly and Dontee Kiehn Company Manager: DeAnn L. Boise.Production Stage Manager: Kenneth J. Davis. Musical Supervisor: Todd Ellison. Casting: Telsey + Company and Rachel Hoffman, CSA; Dance Captain: Christopher M. Howard.

December 13-18 at the Walt Disney Theater at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida.

THE BAND'S VISIT featuring a book by Itamar Moses, an original score by David Yazbek.

Directed by David Cromer.

Choreography by Patrick McCollum and movement by Lee Sher.

You are cordially invited on a single ticket to attend a performance of the world premiere musical The cast features George Abud, Bill Army, Tony Award nominee John Cariani , Katrina Lenk, Erik Liberman, Andrew Polk, Rachel Prather, Jonathan Raviv, Sharone Sayegh, Tony Award nominee Tony Shalhoub, Kristen Sieh, Ari’el Stachel, Daniel David Stewart and Alok Tewari.

An Egyptian Police Band arrives in Israel to play a concert. After a mix up at the border, they are sent to a remote village in the middle of the desert. With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, these unlikely travelers are taken in by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected ways.

Scenic design by Scott Pask, costume design by Sarah Laux, lighting design by Tyler Micoleau, sound design by Clive Goodwin, music direction by Andrea Grody, and casting by Tara Rubin Casting.

World premiere of The Band's Visit, based on the award-winning film, opened Thursday, December 8, for a limited engagement through Friday, December 23, 2016, off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater, New York City.

FALSETTOS a revival of William Finn and James Lapine’s Tony Award winning musical.

Directed by James Lapine.

Falsettos is the story of the charming, neurotic Marvin, who struggles to find an unconventional and loving extended family after leaving his wife and son for his lover Whizzer.

The production features Stephanie J. Block (as Trina), Christian Borle (as Marvin), Andrew Rannells (as Whizzer), Anthony Rosenthal (as Jason), Tracie Thoms (as Dr. Charlotte), Brandon Uranowitz (as Mendel), and Betsy Wolfe (as Cordelia). Choreography by Spencer Liff, sets by David Rockwell, costumes by Jennifer Caprio, lighting by Jeff Croiter, sounds by Dan Moses Schreier, and musical direction by Vadim Feichtner, conducting Michael Starobin’s original orchestrations.

Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Falsettos is at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City.


COLM WILKINSON the man who originated such classic roles as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables and the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera appears in concert in an evening of music and stories. Theatre favorites such as Music of the Night, Some Enchanted Evening, Somewhere, and his signature song Bring Him Home anchor the experience. He'll also include definitive Irish classics such as Danny Boy and Whiskey in the Jar. The program will showcase the complete depth, range, and variety of Wilkinson’s enormous talent. Ed Mirvish Theatre in Ontario, Canada on Monday, December 19, 2016.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS open a two night stand Wednesday, December 14, at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK. Next Sunday, December 18, they are at the 02 in London.

ANDREA BOCELLI on stage Thursday, December 15, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. On Saturday he can be found at the TD Garden in Boston, MA. Next Sunday, December 18, the tour stops at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

THE TEN TENORS perform Tuesday, December 13, at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in Green Bay, WI On Friday they start a two nighter at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA.

JOE BONAMASSA performs Tuesday, December 13, at the Music Hall in Tucson, AZ. On Wednesday he can be found at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego. on Friday he opens a two nighter at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

PINK MARTINI brings their musical cocktail to Town Hall in NYC on Tuesday, December 13. Thursday's show is at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA. On Friday they can be enjoyed at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, CT. On Saturday they are on stage at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, MA.

TONY BENNETT singing his hits Monday, December 12, at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, VA. On Friday the ageless wonder stars at the Dodd Auditorium in Fredericksburg, VA.

JOHNNY MATHIS opens a two night stand Friday, December 16, at te McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA.


RUSSELL KIEFEL an actor with a career spanning five decades, died after collapsing on stage during a performance of Kate Wyvill's play And I'm The Queen of Sheba at Brown's Mart Theatre in Darwin, Australia on November 19, 2016. He was 65.

He graduated from Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1974 and was a popular figure on the Australian stage and television. If you didn't know his name, you'd recognize his face.

Cate Blanchett, with whom Kiefel performed in the Sydney Theatre Company's 2009 production of A Streetcar Named Desire. "Russell weathered the ups and downs and vagaries of our profession with such good grace and humour … he was a beloved and essential member of every ensemble lucky enough to have his talent and his heart in their midst. He will be sorely missed."

His most recent performance in Sydney, Australia was at Belvoir in February, 2016 playing patriarch Doug in Stephen Sewell's The Blind Giant is Dancing, a play whose history "was very much entwined with his own. Kiefel performed in it three times, over 30 years, and it was the work of which he was most proud," according to his obit.

Kiefel is survived by his sisters Susan and Jennifer, his wife Katrina Foster, and sons Max and Leo. Belvoir Theatre will host a public memorial for Russell Kiefel on Sunday, December 18, 2016.

Next Column: December 18, 2016
Copyright: December 11, 2016 All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, 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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