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SCHOOL OF ROCK THE MUSICAL REVIEW - -BROADWAY GIVES OBAMA STANDING OVATION FOR SIGNING TAX BILL
- - HAND
TO GOD WINS LAWSUIT - -
THE AUSTRALIAN THEATRE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE - -
LL COOL J TO HOST GRAMMY AWARDS - - JUBILEE PRODUCTION SHOW IN LAS VEGAS TO CLOSE - -
JERRY LEWIS ENDORSES PLAY
- - FUN HOME RECOUPS - - DONATE . . . Scroll Down
Copyright: December 20, 2015
By: Laura Deni
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DON'T SKIP SCHOOL OF ROCK
School of Rock cast. Production images by Matthew Murphy.
Fun and infectious.
Based on the Paramount movie School of Rock written by Mike White; with an updated book by Julian Fellowes; lyrics by Glenn Slater; music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; directed by Laurence Connor; this pick me upper is a rockin' hit.
The main plot revolves around a struggling, unkempt wanna be rock singer and guitarist, Dewey Finn,
who is kicked out of his band and subsequently manages to disguises himself as his roommate,
Ned (Spencer Moses) to obtain a job as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school.
Dewey needs rent money. After witnessing the musical talent in his students,
Dewey forms a band to attempt to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands.
School of Rock makes its point without being either mean or sappy. Despite their track record
of knowing how to deliver high end sophistication - Lords Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellowes who have
given us Evita, Les Miserables and Fellowes' Downton Abbey, this offering isn't
elegant. It's not suppose to be. The kids may have parents who can afford high end schools,
but these youngsters are get-down rockers.
Youthful rebellion is a time honored rite of passage. The parents of these kids would prefer
it if their offspring reeled it in. Fake-it teacher Dewey does everything in his power
to ignite their musical passion. The kids are rebellious; annoyed that their parents want to mold them into
their own adult conformity.
Conceding that I may be one of the few people who didn't see the movie, that void in my life also permitted me
to judge this musical on its own, rather than the conscious or unconscious comparison of the stage presentation
to the celluloid version - or comparing Alex Brightman's Dewey versus that of Jack Black's big screen delivery.
I did review the original cast CD which describes the musical performances. The Broadway mounting is
true to the recording - or visa-verse.
See Broadway To Vegas column of November 22, 2015
Of course the stage version adds depth, a storyline and color to the music, which has some memorable moments - Stick it to the Man being a showstopper.
The talent on stage is energetically awesome. Whatever Alex Brightman is on - bottle it. If an electrical grid ever goes down, just plug him in. If the movie version made Jack Black a star, the stage offering could do the same for Brightman. Guitarist Brandon Niederauer and drummer Dante Melucci are standouts.
Sierra Boggess as Rosalie Mullins and the cast of School of Rock. Production images by Matthew Murphy.
I first enjoyed Sierra Boggess when she starred in Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas. The role of
Horace Green’s buttoned up school principle Rosalie, she delivers vibratory bursts of Mozart segments reminding
show-goers that she's from the Lloyd-Webber stable. Her character also enjoys a love transformation. Although there are no small parts, as the saying goes, the talented Boggess and Marnie Parris who plays Ned’s constantly nagging girlfriend, Patty, find themselves in roles which are not the biggest.
The talent on stage is energetically awesome. The Crayola box colored sets and school uniform/teen-age couture by Anna
Louizos and pop-up choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter are fun. The lighting by Natasha Katz
can bathe purplish/pink/blue hues without coming across as either Barbie or repressed institutional. The only downside is that the sound is so loud it can melt ear wax.
This isn't some high angst drama that requires over the top musing. This is a delightful, fun loving piece
of fluff that was created to entertain and it does. Along the way you'll see a stage full of talent - most of it
under 21. All that is keeping them from sitting at the adult table is their age. Musical comedy stars - be on guard.
These kids will eventually be out for your parts. Sales of Gibson guitars should soar, as the youthful side
of 20 enjoying this show will no doubt want to slap, strum and pick those strings.
The show is delightful - also loud. Go see the show at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City (maybe bring ear plugs); and also buy the CD.
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ART AND ABOUT
CHRISTMAS TREE AND NEAPOLITAN CRECHE
Metropolitan Christmas Tree The Metropolitan Museum in New York City continues a longstanding holiday
tradition with the presentation of its Christmas tree, a favorite of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world.
The brightly lit, twenty-foot blue spruce features eighteenth-century Neapolitan angels and cherubs hovering among its boughs and groups of realistic crèche figures flanking the Nativity scene at its base.
The installation is set in front of the eighteenth-century Spanish choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid,
with Christmas music in the background and daily lighting ceremonies.
The towering tree is adorned with twenty-two cherubs and fifty-five gracefully suspended angels, while the
landscape at the base features an additional sixty-nine figures that represent the three elements of
Nativity scenes traditional to eighteenth-century Naples: adoring shepherds and their flocks,
the procession of the three Magi, and colorful peasants and townspeople.
The display is enhanced by fifty charming animals and by background pieces that create a dramatic setting
for the Nativity, including the ruins of a Roman temple, several quaint houses, and a typical Italian fountain.
On display through January 6, 2016.
A MASTERWORK OF OCEANIC ART
Saibai Island, Torres Strait (Northern Islands, Australia), Mask, 1870, wood, human hair,
shell, seedpod, fiber, pigment, melo shell and coix seeds, Toledo Museum of Art, Purchased with funds
from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 2015.
has been added to the collection
at the Toledo Ohio Museum of Art. Purchased at Christie’s in Paris on December 3, 2015, the mask
is one of four known distinguished examples from Saibai Island in the Torres Straits and has been
heralded by scholars as the most notable.
The Saibai Island Masks are among the rarest and most
spectacular works of art created by the artists of the Torres Straits.
The earliest written record of a Saibai Island mask was in 1606 when Spanish explorer Don Diego de Prado y
Tovar wrote of a turtle shell example while on exploration voyage with Luís Vaz de Torres, for whom the region
Masks in this style are called “mawa,” meaning “face,” and are believed to represent mythical heroes whose
appearances signal important events and rites of passage. The “mawa” ceremony was held to celebrate the ripening of
fruits and other crops around the month of September. The masks were carved from wood and distinct because they do
not have sight apertures for the wearer, meaning that they were likely worn on the top of the head by a dancer
wearing a costume of coconut leaves. They could also have been used as a kind of architectural ornament.
There are only three other examples in this style, two in the Australian Museum in Sydney and one in Barbier
Mueller Museum in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Brian Kennedy, president, director and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art, commented that “This is an
extraordinary, spectacular example of the sculptural tradition of mask making in the Torres Strait Islands.
We have rarely seen such a striking and memorable mask. We are thrilled to have acquired an object
of such rarity which expands the global range of the Toledo Museum of Art’s celebrated art collections.”
This example, from the Jolika Collection, demonstrates the powerful proportions used in Torres Strait Islander
art. It is revered as the best and most remarkable example of an extremely rare body of Torres Strait art.
The mask measures almost three times the size of a human face and the trapezoidal shape combined with shell
eyes glowing against the dark brown wood create a haunting expression and make this one of the most
memorable among masks from the South Seas.
Wooden masks in the Torres Straits are particular to the Western island of Saibai, unlike the more typical turtle
shell masks of the South Seas. This is attributed to the proximity of Saibai Island to the sculptural wood
tradition of New Guinea.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have the oldest continuous culture in the world, with a legacy of tens of thousands of years. Their art is often referred to as the oldest in human history.
BROADWAY GIVES OBAMA STANDING OVATION FOR SIGNING TAX BILL
A tax package that makes possible equal tax treatment for live theatrical productions was signed
into law December 18, 2015 by President Barack Obama. The tax law change had been sought by Broadway producers.
The change, part of a broader tax-cut measure - the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015 - a package of more than $600 billion in tax breaks for businesses, investors and families. The bill extends to live theater a tax benefit already provided to the film and television industries. The provision was spearheaded by Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, where the city of Branson, also a live entertainment destination, could benefit.
The far reaching effects of this small amendment to the tax code promises to reap significant benefits for live productions nationwide.
Prior to the passage the tax code permitted television and film productions to deduct expenses up to $15 million in qualified costs, when 75 percent of compensation paid is for services performed in the United States. Broadway shows and other live theatrical productions did not previously qualify for the tax incentive.
Now the law allows 100 percent of an investment to be deducted by the investor from his or her income in the year of the investment.
Beginning January 2016, all forms of entertainment media will be treated similarly by the IRS.
Producers say it will encourage investment in commercial theater.
Supporters of extending the entertainment tax incentive to theater said the change would encourage investors and producers to develop shows in the United States, rather than in Britain, where it is less expensive to mount commercial productions.
SPREADING THE WORD
TWO-TIMME GRAMMY WINNER LL COOL J is set to return as host of the
58th Annual Grammy Awards, marking his fifth consecutive year as master of ceremonies. Taking place at Staples
Center in Los Angeles The Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network, Monday, February 15, 2016.
HAND TO GOD got their prayers answers on December
17, 2015 and won a ruling by Judge George B. Daniels who determined that no copyright
infringement took place for using a segment of the famous Abbott and Costello routine Who's on First?
The estate of the late, comedy team filed suit last June against the Tony nominated play penned by Robert Askins.
Judge Daniels rejected their arguments, saying the play's paraphrase of a section of the routine falls with the bounds of "fair use" and is "transformative," meaning it changed the context and meaning of the routine.
As first reported by Deadline.com, the judge's ruling said, in part, that the routine, as used in Hand to God is used for "a darkly comedic critique of the social norms governing a small town in the Bible Belt. Thus, Defendants’ use of part of the Routine is not an attempt to usurp plaintiffs material in order to 'avoid the drudgery in working up something fresh.' Nor is the original performance of the Routine 'merely repackaged or republished.'"
Mark Rachman, a lawyer for the Abbott and Costello heirs (TCA Television Corp., Hi Neighbor and Diana Abbott Colton), had said in a June statement, "Hand to God is using ‘Who’s on First’ not just to get laughs from the audience but also to get people to buy tickets."
Rick Miramontez, a spokesperson for the Hand to God production team (The Ensemble Studio Theatre, Manhattan Class Company, playwright Robert Askins, Hand To God LLC and its investors), replied at the time that the lawsuit was baseless, adding, "The material in question is in the public domain, and the show’s producer carefully vetted [it with lawyers for the production]."
The judge agreed making his own pity comment that, "the Complaint doesn’t get past first base."
ELVIS PRESLEY INPERSONATOR PERFORMED FOR PRINCE CHARLES
when The Prince of Wales visited the Pen y Dre High School in Merthry Tydfil. The Grandfather to George and Charlotte
was entertained by 16-year old Elvis impersonator Rhys Berry. Wearing an all-leather jumpsuit, the teenager did a
dandy impression of Presley's hit Suspicious Minds.
Charles responded with "rapturous applause" and commented: "'I was impressed by the young Elvis Presley - and just how energetic he was. I'm so glad Elvis impersonators are alive and well and keeping his memory alive.'"
Charles also saw a school performance of Shakespeare's' Twelfth Night.
FUN HOME the
2015 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fun Home
at the Circle in the Square Theatre, has recouped its entire $5.25 million investment after just eight months after opening on Broadway on April 19, 2015.
ORGANIZERS OF THE BURNING MAN FESTIVAL in the letter sent to the Nevada Department of Taxation are challenging the enforcement of a Nevada state live entertainment tax. Burning Man attorney Ray Allen said the 9 percent tax would translate into a tax bill of about $2.8 million. He said the tax is known by some as the “Burning Man tax.”
Burning Man contends that the festival should be exempt from the recently amended tax on live entertainment, as first reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal.
The 25-year-old annual counter-culture arts festival attracted about 80,000 participants this year to the Black Rock
Desert 100 miles north of Reno.
THE AUSTRALIAN THEATRE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE has announced two new scholarship opportunities for young Australians aged 18–26. Partnering with the Australian Theatre Company in Los Angeles and G’Day USA, the young recipients will mentor with ATYP in Sydney for one year, culminating in the opportunity to travel to L.A. to work on a project with ATC and be profiled at the G’Day USA Gala in January 2017.
ATYP ambassadors Rebel Wilson and Rose Byrne are both alumni of ATYP and are generously supporting two scholarship funds. Each of the scholarships has different selection criteria, but both center around identifying, nurturing and promoting the next generation of theater artists.
Rebel Wilson has donated $15,000 per year for the next three years to fund the “Rebel Wilson Theatremaker Scholarship” to be awarded to an emerging artist interested in generating their own content. The recipient can be any combination of the following: actor / writer / producer.
Rose Byrne has also donated $15,000 per year for the next three years to support an emerging female leader in the arts. This could be a director, writer, actor or producer. Her commitment to the support of women in film is widely known but this scholarship marks her commitment to women in theater.
JUBILEE the iconic production show which has been running in Las Vegas for 34 years will high kick and strut it for the last time on February 11, 2016.
The closing notice news came as a total surprise to the cast and crew of the Donn Arden creation.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ZARKANA which opened in November 2012 at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, replacing Viva Elvis, will close April 30, 2016. Replacing the show will be a $154 million expansion of Aria's convention center.
A BITTER PILL
written by Gayle Damiano Waxenberg.
Directed by Daniel Neiden.
Las Vegas resident Jerry Lewis has endorsed the play. “It is my hope that this wonderful play can help educate, so that one day all children have an equal chance for a healthy, happy life.” Jerry Lewis.
A Bitter Pill portrays an odyssey through a parade of doctors, prescriptions, devastating side-effects, and the gradual fraying of an American family. Following one child's plight, A Bitter Pill is a topical and timely new play that examines the victimization and over-medication of American youth and the partnership between the medical community and Big Pharma.
Playwright Waxenberg shared her inspiration, “Raising children in the nineties and 2000s, I witnessed too many children being labeled like cans, and medicated for one frightening diagnosis after another. First it was ADD, then bipolar disorder and being on the spectrum, followed by personality disorders - all publicized like fashion trends. When it landed within my orbit of family and friends, I had to do something. Even now, every day there are new headlines revealing Big Pharma's pipeline of fabricated disorders and the misguided dispensation of drugs, including exposes of facts hidden from the FDA.”
The cast comprises Whitney Biancur, Steven Cambria, Marissa Crisafulli, Brandon Duncan, Leo Giannopoulos, Alesandra Nahodil,
Alexander Nifong and Nicole O’Brien. Rachel Kaufman serves as Musical Director, and Rebecca Kane as Stage Manager.
Director Daniel Neiden said, “It took an inordinate amount of determination for Gayle to pour out this story and craft such a beautiful play that affects each one of us. We have become a medicated society that continues to run the risks of sometimes fatal side-effects from opportunistic, for-profit diagnoses, which have been the basis of Big-Pharma protocol and financial gains.”
As part of theVenus/Adonis Theater Festival The Hudson Guild Theatre in New York City January 5 – 10, 2016.
JAMES JOYCE'S THE DEAD a candlelit reading by Aidan Gillen, with music by Feargal Murray.
The Dead is the last of fifteen stories that make up Dubliners, Joyce’s searing exploration of life in Dublin.
The Dead uses scrupulous deadpan realism to present the story of a pedantic professor who experiences an intensely personal and brutal epiphany at his aunts’ annual Christmas party.
Regarded as one of the founders of early twentieth century modernism, Joyce redefined and re-imagined the possibilities of language, and remains a major literary influence.
Dubliner Aidan Gillen has been nominated for a Tony, BAFTA, and a British Independent Film Award. He has won three Irish Film and Television Awards.
The sold out engagement is at The Globe in London through December 28, 2015 and then transfers
to the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, Ireland for readings January 5-9, 2016 as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Ginna Hoban.
Directed by Mary Darling.
Iraisa Ann Reilly stars in this delicious one-woman show about how much the holidays suck after your heart’s been crushed.
On Thanksgiving Day, Mary discovers that her fiancé is cheating on her when she catches him on national TV kissing another woman at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. She then must navigate a year's worth of hapless holidays and luckless romances amid the colorful characters that make up her family. Christmas, New Year's Eve, and St. Patrick's Day bring one dating disaster after another. June provides a "wedding season" of letdowns, and Halloween is nothing less than a horror show. When the second Christmas rolls around, a surprise encounter with a five-year-old boy whom she has come to adore changes her mood, her day, and her whole perspective.
Through December 30, 2015 The Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Cape May, New Jersey.
THE TENORS perform Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at
Caesars in Windsor, ON, Canada.
FELIX CAVALIERE'S RASCALS - HOLIDAY SHOW. the classically trained
pianist and legendary singer songwriter will perform a wide variety of seasonal tunes on December 20, 2015 at
The Hamilton which is housed in the landmark Garfinckel’s department store building, Washington, DC.
THE CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON An Enchanted Christmas
captures the spirit of the season with concert mixed with Yuletide classics, Italian carols, and the always popular
sing-along. Scott Tucker, conductor. Through December 24, 2015 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington, DC.
CABARET with Melissa Delancey and Friends in a "funny, spooky,
and racy musical" on December 21-23, 2015 at 13th Street Rep in New York City.
MARJORIE LORD stage, television and film actress died November
28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, CA. She was 97.
Most famous for playing the wife of Danny Thomas in the television series Make room For Daddy, at the age of 16 Lord made her Broadway debut in The Old Maid with Judith Anderson. Her other Broadway appearances were in Signature (1945), Little Brown Jug (1946), and The Girl in the Freudian Slip (1967).
Although most of Lord's success came in television, she said in 1963: "I am primarily a stage actress. That's what I was trained to do and that's my first love."
In the 1970s, Lord was active in dinner theater productions, spending 34 weeks in such presentations in 1973 alone.
Lord had been married three times and once divorced. She wed actor John Archer on December 30, 1941, and they had two children.
They divorced in 1955. Her second husband was producer Randolph Hale, to whom she was married from 1958 until his death in 1974. Her third husband was banker Harry Volk, to whom she was married from 1976 until his death in 2000.
She is survived by her daughter actress Anne Archer, son Gregg Archer, grandson Tommy Davis, four other grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
JOHN EATON an avant-garde composer of operas both grandiose
and chamber-size and an early proponent of synthesizer music, died on December 2, 2015 in Manhattan. He was 80.
The cause was complications of a brain hemorrhage. He had fallen on December
1 while walking to St. Peter’s Church in Midtown for a performance of his work Fantasy Romance
for cello and piano.
He was a recipient of the Prix de Rome, Guggenheim Fellow, MacArthur Fellow and professor emeritus of composition at the University of Chicago.
Eaton wrote music in a variety of forms but was best known for his operas, many of them envisioned on a colossal scale and written microtonally — that is, using the quarter-tone intervals between the 12 semitones of the Western octave.
“Heracles,” a tragic opera about Hercules and the poisoned robe of Nessus, required 300 performers. Its premiere, in 1972, inaugurated the Musical Arts Center at Indiana University, where Eaton taught for more than 20 years and directed the Center for Electronic and Computer Music. His Danton and Robespierre, a seething drama set in the French Revolution, had 40 solo roles, a chorus of 250 and an orchestra of 150. It was first performed at Indiana in 1980.
He worked for 20 years with Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer, to develop the Eaton-Moog Multiple-Touch-Sensitive Keyboard, a synthesizer that responded to a variety of pressures and placements of the performer’s fingers. In 1992 he wrote the first work for the instrument, Genesis.
While in college he wrote his first opera, “Ma Barker,” a chamber work about the notorious Barker crime family. A keen swing pianist, he also led a student jazz group, the Princetonians, who recorded two albums for Columbia Records, “Johnny Eaton and the Princetonians” and “Far Out, Near In.”
Other works included: the children’s opera “The Lion and Androcles” (1974), “Danton and Robespierre” (1978) and “The Cry of Clytaemnestra” (1980), considered his most famous opera. The Cry of Clytaemnestra, a re-telling of some of the events surrounding the Trojan War from the perspective of Agamemnon's wife Clytaemnestra, has been hailed as the first feminist opera. It was premièred in Bloomington, at the Indiana University Opera Theater, on 1 March 1980, and received a number of subsequent productions, most notably in New York and California..
He composed about a dozen pocket operas, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2010), based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story about a man who ages in reverse.
He is survived by his wife Nelda Nelson-Eaton, a singer who often performed his work; a daughter, Estela Eaton,
who wrote the librettos for several of his operas; a son, Julian; and an older brother, Harold.
GLORIA CONTRERAS famed Mexican choreographer who created more than 260 ballets for companies she directed in New York and Mexico died of respiratory failure at her home in Mexico City on November 25, 2015. She was 81.
Mentored by Balanchine, one of her major achievements was the company and school she founded in 1970 in Mexico City: the Taller Coreográfico (Choreographic Workshop) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
There she showcased a signature style that avoided folk dance but used Mexican composers and motifs to infuse even plotless neo-Classical ballets in leotards with a Mexican sensibility.
She is survived by her son, Gregorio Luke,
daughter, Lorena; her husband, Jaime Farell; her sister, Margarita; and two grandchildren.
LUIGI CREATORE famed songwriter and producer died December 13, 2015
in Boca Raton, Florida from complications of pneumonia.. He was 93.
In the 1950s he became a writer then partnered with his cousin Hugo Peretti to form the songwriting team of Hugo & Luigi that also produced records. In 1957, they bought into Roulette Records where they both wrote songs for various artists such as Valerie Carr and produced major hits for Jimmie Rodgers including Honeycomb (Billboard # 1) and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine (Billboard # 3), and Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again and Secretly. They produced Peggy March's No. 1 single I Will Follow Him.
They wrote two songs that were hits for Elvis Presley in 1961: Wild in the Country, from the movie of the same name, and Can’t Help Falling in Love, from the movie Blue Hawaii, which they wrote with George David Weiss.
Hugo & Luigi also won the 1977 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album as producers for Bubbling Brown Sugar.
Luigi's play An Error of the Moon, an exploration of the relationship between the actor Edwin Booth and his brother John Wilkes Booth, directed by Kim Weild, was performed off-Broadway until October 10, 2010.
The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Luigi Creatore was a truly gifted songwriter and record producer.
Along with his cousin Hugo Peretti, Luigi created numerous memorable hits for artists including Sam Cooke,
Perry Como, Elvis Presley and many others. In 1976, Hugo and Luigi won the Grammy Award for Best Cast
Show Album for their production work on the original cast album of the musical Bubbling Brown Sugar. We have lost a gifted and cherished music creator and our sincerest condolences go out to Luigi’s family, friends, collaborators and all who have been impacted by his incredible work."
His first marriage ended in divorce. His second marriage ended when his wife died. His third wife, Claire Weiss
Creatore, had earlier been married to George David Weiss. She and Creatore wed after Mr. Weiss died in 2010.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Victor, from his first marriage.
EDMUND LYNDECK character actor, musical theater performer
and teacher who originated the role of Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd died December 14, 2015. He was 90.
He spent decades acting in regional and stock theatre and was a
a college English professor.
For Sweeney Todd he won a Drama-Logue Award for his performance in the tour's Los Angeles engagement.
As a teenager he made his Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1943 as
A Ben Yost's Vi-King. He would return to Broadway as the Rev. John Witherspoon, a Congressional delegate, in the original 1969 production of 1776. Later in the run, he took on the roles of Stephen Hopkins and Dr. Lyman Hall. In the national tour of the show, he played the role of John Dickins.
He also acted in a 1976 Broadway revival of Mrs. Warren’s Profession; Piaf...A Remembrance; as Eric in the musical A Doll’s Life, based on characters in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House; as the Wizard in the musicals Merlin; and Grand Hotel; and the play Artist Descending a Staircase.
Sondheim also cast him in the small role of Cinderella’s Father in the fairy-tale musical Into the Woods. He later assumed the larger role of the Narrator and Mysterious Man.
Regionally, he was most active in Pennsylvania. He played Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera every year from 1992 to 2007.
KURT MASUR famed classical conductor who transformed the New York
Philharmonic died December 19, 2015 in Greenwich, Conn. He was 88.
His death was announced by the Philharmonic who indicated the cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Masur conducted without a baton throughout his career due to a life long inoperable tendon jury.
After spending more than a decade leading orchestras and opera companies throughout the newly formed East Germany, Masur became the music director of the Komische Oper, Berlin; he was later chief conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic, a post he held from 1967 to 1972. In 1970, he was named Kapellmeister of the Gewandhaus, one of Europe’s most venerable orchestras. He would hold that post for 26 years.
In 1991, Masur became music director of the New York Philharmonic.
His other posts included the principal conductorship of the London Philharmonic, a position he held from 2000 to 2007, and the music directorship of the Orchestre National de France from 2002 to 2008.
Masur’s first marriage ended in divorce. In 1972, Masur was driving when his car struck another
on an East German highway. His second wife, Irmgard, and the two occupants of the other car were all killed. Masur was seriously injured.
His survivors include his third wife, the former Tomoko Sakurai, and their son, Ken-David who is a classical
singer and music conductor; his daughters, Angelika and Carolin; his sons, Michael and Matthias; and nine grandchildren.
Next Column: December 27, 2015
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