Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: December 21, 2008
By: Laura Deni


Doctors have always made for good story lines.

Robin Williams as Patch Adams. Based on a true story about a doctor who helped pioneer the then-startling idea that doctors should treat people, not just disease. Compassion, involvement and empathy - Radical thinking, then and now.
From the TV series M.A.S.H., Dr. Baker on Little House on the Prairie, Robin Williams in the movie Patch Adams, the series Dr. Kildare; Ben Casey; The Practice. Grey's Anatomy to Scrubs. Set in a divergence of locations, with personalities running the gamut, the medics agonized over, suffered with, went to extreme for - their patients. The universal underlying thread was that the needs of the patient came first.

Enter President George Bush, who went from the bottle to drinking from the cup of born-again Christianity. Not content with helping to create economic disaster, he has signed on to a medical ethics flip-flop that has the potential of putting the health of every American in the hands of somebody who is secretly conniving against you.

Last Thursday the Bush administration unwrapped a present for the unsuspecting public. Broad brush regulations that protects all health care workers including support staff, trainees and volunteers - from physicians to janitors - permitting them to refuse to participate in any services that they deem violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

Furthermore, over 584,000 American health care facilities are now in jeopardy of losing federal funding if they do not accommodate employees who "exercise their right of conscious."

“In just a matter of months, the Bush administration has undone three decades of federal protections for both medical professionals and their patients,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Ms. Northup was the founding director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. From 1989 to 1996, she served as a prosecutor and Deputy Chief of Appeals in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
"Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscious," Health and Humane Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said about the 127-page ruling, which was pushed for passage by conservative groups and the religious right.

President-elect Barack Obama’s spokesman Nick Shapiro issued a statement that said Obama “will review all 11th-hour regulations and will address them once he is president.”

While Obama could reverse the ruling, the process would be lengthy.

The ruling anoints physicians - many of whom already have an exalted opinion of themselves - and protects - if not outright encourages - fringe or extremist philosophies.

While many rattle off anti-abortion as the lead character, the scope is all encompassing and has the application potential of both the absurd as well as the vindictive - and even puts at risk a patient's right to privacy.

As written, a hospital janitor can refuse to sweep your hospital room or fix a light switch if that housekeeping engineer doesn't approve of your treatment.

Before having a vasectomy, perhaps you might consider having the broom pusher sit in on the consultation. After all, a vasectomy is a form of birth control and the person with the dust rag might object.

In a short staffed hospital the employee wishing to exercise their moral conscious has to be accommodated - fear of that funding scalpel handing over the administrator's head. While a missing light bulb or a full waste basket might be annoying, it can't be termed a danger to the patient.

However, a trouble-making employee frequently is low ranking, with too much time on their hands and a need to feel important.

Some radical will try to push the envelope with this horrendous regulation. Extremists get attention. These are people who are masters of convoluted reasoning. Injuring or killing anybody exposing a belief other than their own sends a message.

"The rule, which purports to shield healthcare providers from discrimination, would in fact threaten access to reproductive and other health services across the country." Rep. Henry Waxman, Chairman Committee On Oversight and Government Reform in a letter to Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This bill is so shrewdly crafted that it encompasses all areas of medicine.

If a pharmacist refuses to fill a birth control prescription, might they also refuse to fill a prescription for a sexually transmitted disease? And, if they are against birth control, but agree to fill a STI script, how could you trust that the moral police bottle filler didn't substituted a placebo? Tough to track since you would have taken all of the medication.

It is almost impossible have moral feelings so strong about one part of a person's body that those beliefs would not be reflected in sub-standard treatment of other body parts on the same person. If a physician abhors your lifestyle, why would you trust the professional to doctor any part of your body? Retributions for not sharing another's morals can be subtle. It's very difficult to prove that a doctor could have done better. Make a procedure less painful - the scar nicer looking - the disability not as severe if only attended to faster.

Why even trust a referral? Why would you trust a doctor who secretly despises your beliefs or lifestyle recommending you to another physician of his or her choice? Physicians engage in referral relationships, which means one physician will pay another physician for every patient they refer. Wouldn't a referring physician be more apt to have knowledge of, and be on a referral basis with, a member of the medical community that shares similar beliefs?

You're trapped because now they are protected and don't have to disclose helpful information, can mislead and deceive and in effect, secretly be working against you.

Suspect you're not on the same lifestyle page as your health care provider? If you are part of an HMO, at best your choice of a physician is limited.

You have a doctor who refuses to give you any kind of birth control information but will agree to give you a pap test or a mammogram. Why would you trust the tests performed by his morally agreeable assistant - with the all too frequent possibility of having received their training from a third world country? One degree separated from superstition, secretly thinks cancer is God's way of punishing you for not wanting to play There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe. The fact that doctors can keep their beliefs secret, not disclose accurate information, mislead the patient while treating them is reprehensible.

Enemy soldiers are given more honest treatment by military medics than what this regulation foists off on the American public - most of whom may fall into the category of female, overworked and underpaid.

Studies have been done on how moral persuasions of physicians affect patient care.

Dr. Farr Curlin, Associate Professor of General Internal Medicine and Research Fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago
The findings, by a team from the University of Chicago, were published in the Feb. 8, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study was led by Dr. Farr Curlin, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago's MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. His team surveyed 1,144 physicians from varying specialties on their views on issues such as abortion, giving terminal sedation to dying patients, and prescribing birth control to teens without their parents' consent.

The results: 83 percent of physicians said they had no objection to terminal sedation of the dying, and 48 percent said they had no moral objection to abortion in the case of failed contraception. Fifty-eight percent of doctors had no problem prescribing contraception to a minor without parental consent.

Most doctors (63 percent) also felt that it was "ethically permissible" to express a personal moral bias to a patient. The large majority -- 86 percent -- agreed that, even if a doctor objected to a particular legal medical procedure, he or she was still obligated to list it as an available treatment option when advising patients. A large majority of doctors (71 percent) also felt obligated to refer a patient who wanted a particular procedure to another physician -- one who had no moral qualms about the treatment.

That is crucial - if a doctor is going to kick a patient to the curb, then provide a road map to the next pit stop.

Not surprisingly continued the report, religion played a key role in the doctors' responses. Highly religious physicians were much less likely to disclose a morally objectionable treatment option to a patient, for example, than doctors who were less devout.

Curlin said he was disturbed by the notion that 14 percent of U.S. doctors - who together care for about 40 million Americans - might intentionally withhold important treatment information from patients because of personal moral objections.

What changes that figure from disturbing to terrifying is that now medical personnel can legally hide their feelings and not disclose all options to the patient.

"You're seeing it broadening to many types of workers - even into the world of social workers - and for any service for which you have a moral or religious belief." Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization which analyzes legislative, regulatory and judicial actions on reproductive health issues. Nash received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary in 1996 and earned a Masters in Public Policy from The George Washington University in 2005.
Most patient conversations take place - not with physicians - but with a variety of underlings from nurses to nursing assistants, techs, to the person typing up the insurance information. They have the power to conceal information either to the doctor or to the patients, inject their own (now protected) moral beliefs and gum up the works. Tell a nurse that you'd like to ask the doctor a question and more times than you can count the response is; 'The doctor is busy right now. I'll relay the question and let you know.'

This regulation has little to do with abortion and everything with the patient's right to know.

There are fundamental religious groups that believe if God had wanted you to be born with a healthy heart you would have had one. The immediate thought is that people who share that philosophy would not be working within the medical field. Wrong. The medical community involves a wide employment spectrum and this regulation protects all of them.

If you are in the hospital recovering from a hysterectomy, the volunteer in the gift shop will be protected and can refuse to deliver flowers that somebody sent you, because the volunteer secretly suspects the hysterectomy was used as a socially acceptably reason for not bearing more children.

The only person this bill doesn't protect is the patient.

If medical personnel are now protected if they lie, or withhold information, then how to you know when they are telling you the truth?

Transplanting their own views onto a patient who, by the very nature of being under a doctor's care, is scared, vulnerable and worried, should carry an added burden. Routinely doctors will pat you on the hand, tell you to trust them - that they know what is best. Don't try to doctor yourself. Seek a professional. Trust... trust ... trust.

Trust - an interesting word.

In addition to posting their licenses to practice, perhaps physicians, nurses and techs should now be required to frame their religious affiliation and a list of their personal beliefs.


This the season when people are going Bah! Humbug. The stock market nosedived. It's tough to find an angel to bankroll anything. Hedge funds investors are looking for a hedge to hide under.

Then there is the real spirit of the holiday season. Some practice it year round.

Director Volodymyr Fedorov shows Parostky theater actors how to stay focused while playing clumsy bears. Photo: The Day - Ukrainian Press Group
A seldom talked about but important theatrical cottage industry concern involving those with special needs. While performance spaces have long been in tune with the deaf, the world of performing arts is extending its embrace.

The Ukraine is using theater as the method of choice for teaching the intellectually handicapped to navigate society. Between 200,000 and 250,000 mentally handicapped children are born every year in the Ukraine. Within 681 orphanages throughout the 27 administrative subdivisions of the Ukraine, more than one-half of the children are either physically or mentally handicapped. They all need special help to prepare them for an independent life in society.

Approximately nine years ago the civic organization Soniachnyi promin (Sunbeam) founded a theater called Parostky (Sprouts), for intellectually handicapped people.

Volodymyr Fedorov the director of the Parostky Theater, is an associate professor at National Karpenko-Kary University of Cinema and Television.

Through the process of rehearsing and performing on stage, Ukraine’s intellectually handicapped people learn to adapt to real life. Their speaking ability improves and they gain self confidence. There is a voice studio at the theater, where all the actors learn how to sing songs to musical accompaniment.

While most actors long for standing ovations and their name in headlines, rewards for these actors are to be able to use public transport on their own, and function better in their daily lives.

There are 80 theaters like this in Ukraine. Recently, a number of them gathered at the 7th Sun Wave International Integration Festival, where special needs actors from Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Poland recited poems, danced, and sang.

A recent production of the Parostky Theater was the 40 minute mini-play The Colorful Dreams of a Hedgehog in the Fog, based on a fairy tale by Serhii Kozlov.

Mounting this play was a milestone because for the first time in the theater’s history ordinary actors and people with special needs appeared on the same stage. Those cast in the main roles were actors from the Babylon Theater Studio - students from Kyiv’s National Mykhailo Drahomanov University.

It was the Parostky actors who suggested introducing dream songs into the production. Their favorite songs were choreographed into musical scenes in which the Parostky actors acted out musical scenes portraying the colorful dreams of the little hedgehog.

Today the theater has about 20 mentally handicapped people between the ages of 18 and 38. "We have had talks with Ada Rohovtseva, Vadym Talashko, and the leading actors of Kyiv theaters about participating in our production of Hamlet," director Volodymyr Fedorov told conference attendees. "At the moment we are strapped for cash and can’t stage it. But the first step in this direction has already been made. Performing with the students was beneficial to our actors because they saw the way they should behave with other people, what they should say to friends and older people. Incidentally, no other theaters that are taking part in Sun Wave have tried to carry out this kind of experiment."

In the Rocky Mountain state, a Denver based theater has also made history. Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League, known as PHAMALy, has been giving people with disabilities the opportunity to perform in a professional theatrical setting for two decades. But, it was not until 1999 when they staged Side Show which had never before been performed by actors with actual deformities, that the general community took notice.

After all, actress Emily Skinner, who was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance on Broadway, came to Denver and worked with the two actors playing the conjoined sisters. After writer Bill Russell attended a 1999 performance, he left telling the cast they had discovered nuances he had never imagined. Last June the company revived the production for Denver audiences, as well as those attending the National Performing Arts Convention. With book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Henry Krieger, Side Show is based on the true story of Daisy and Violet Hilton. Directed by Steve Wilson the cast included; Regan Linton, Jenna Bainbridge, Nick Ortiz Trammell, Mark Dissette, Leonard Barrett, Don Mauck, Stephen Hahn, Jason Dorwart, Linda Wirth, Amber Marsh, Kathleen Traylor, Matt MacCarthy, Gregg Vigil, Kevin Pettit, Mimi Holmes, Lucy Roucis, Katrina Weber, Samantha Barrasso, Edward Blackshere, Molly Nash, Donna Gunnison, Angie Aguilar, Sean McGee, Michael Danahey, David Wright, Briana Berthiaume, Alex Marin, Julie Melton, Troy Willis, Teri Westerman and Don Gabenski.

Prior to the opening director Steve Wilson stated: Side Show is a true story featuring conjoined twins, mutants, lizard men and all manner of deformed. "So if you come with sympathy, the opening number ought to jettison it right out," he said referring to Come Look at the Freaks, which he emphasized "carries with it an authenticity and a power that no one else can touch."

"Everyone says, 'Wow,' when someone hires an African-American company to do A Streetcar Named Desire, or all women to do Twelfth Night, " Wilson told the press.

"Well, then, how about you have someone who is actually disabled play Helen Keller or Richard III? Those are characters that are actually disabled."

"That's when you start to expand your idea of what is possible. And then maybe one day you'll actually see, say, Puck in a wheelchair."

While helping the mentally or physically handicapped can generate a fuzzy, feel good feeling a different nerve is touched when the word "homeless" is mentioned.

The word conjures up visions of people who smell bad, urinate on the sidewalk, sleep in cardboard boxes and eat from dumpsters. People donate to food banks and feel they've done their part.

Not the Darlinghurst Theatre Company in Australia.

A Milk Crate Theatre production. Milk Crate Theatre is a Darlinghurst Theatre Company initiative that works in collaboration with a network of service centers in Sydney including Wesley Missions’ Edward Eagar Lodge, Mission Australia Centre, The Wayside Chapel, The Mercy Arms, Rough Edges and The Matthew Talbot Hostel.
Milk Crate Theatre was initiated in 1999 when South Sydney Council approached the Darlinghurst Theatre Company to do a performance for the homeless community. Rather than a single performance Darlinghurst Theatre Company saw the need for a more sustainable program and in approaching Wesley Mission's Edward Eagar Lodge to partner, the Milk Crate Theatre project was born.

For more than nine years, Milk Crate Theatre has entertained, empowered and instilled confidence by creating staged performances from the stories and experiences of Sydney’s homeless and disadvantaged people. Professional actors work with the community to create unique, profound and enjoyable theatre.

Actors regularly cast in the Milk Crate productions are; Dannielle Antaki Maurie Barlin, Michael Cullen, Drew Fairley, Eliza Logan, Craig Meneaud, Kylie Bonaccorso, Bernadette Regan and Graeme Rhodes.

Unique with the Milk Crate Theatre performances are that they are interactive and allow the audience to take control of the action. A rehearsed drama is performed by professional actors from Darlinghurst Theatre Company. The inspiration for the performance piece comes from the real life story of someone from the homeless and disadvantaged community. After the story is presented by the actors, the audience - which is described as - " colorful, chaotic, dysfunctional, extremely outspoken" - can throw suggestions that change the plot and ultimately the outcome of the story, making new decisions for the main character. Audience members can also join the actors on stage and play out their own, or someone else’s, suggestion. Thus, performances are some of the most moving, warm hearted and often hilarious nights of theatre one can experience. Everyone is a potential performer, all opinions are heard, issues are thrashed out live on stage and finally everyone celebrates together with food.

Top this off with an extensive program of workshop/rehearsals where participants can improvise, dream, create and tell their stories, you have Milk Crate Theatre - Australia’s only theatre company solely dedicated to the homeless and disadvantaged community.

Two very broad shoulders that carry this worthwhile project belong to; Beck Ronkson Artistic Director who is a graduate of the University of Western Sydney, Nepean with an Honors Degree in Arts (Theatre) and is a Theatre director, Performer and Community Cultural Development (CCD) artsworker who specializes in devised work and working with communities.

Maurie Barlin serves as the Joker/MC. A graduate from Theatre Nepean, he is the Program Manager for Darlo Drama where he has been teaching since 1994. Before Nepean, Maurie was a workshop leader/devisor with Side Effects, a Youth Health Theatre project funded by the Health Department via the Adolescent Medical Unit. He is a founding member and performer of Milk Crate Theatre and is the "Joker/MC" for all shows.

A night at Milk Crate Theatre is billed as one that a ticket holder will never forget.

Augusto Boal
The Milk Crate Theatre was created to provide disadvantaged members of the community with a live theatre experience, an opportunity to voice their own story and recognize positive life choices. Through the friendly atmosphere of the performance night, participants are encouraged to look at life situations objectively. The value of this is that it can be confronting without being confrontational, making it a powerful tool for change.

This style of theatre is loosely based on Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. A political activist and theatre director, most of Augusto Boal’s techniques were created after he realized the limitations of didactic politically motivated theatre in the poor areas where he worked. He found that his attempts to inspire the people living in poor or 'slum' areas to rise up against racial and class inequality were inhibited by his own racial and class background, since he was white and comparatively financially comfortable. His new techniques allowed the idea of rebellion and the impetus for change to come from within the target group.

This concept is encapsulated in this quote from Boal which also serves to explain the value of Milk Crate Theatre; "Theatre can act as a rehearsal ground for the outside world, giving oppressed people skills to deconstruct, re-think and articulate their point of view and generally communicate for themselves".

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CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is bringing back its annual holiday exhibit, Christmas Around the World," through January 4, 2009. Christmas Around the World features beautifully decorated trees representing the countries which President Reagan visited while in office. With toy soldiers, trains and Christmas music, the exhibit is meant for all ages. This marks the 15th year the Reagan Library has offered this enchanting exhibit. In addition to 30 trees, a 17 foot tall tree and a White House tree are on display. Also on display, a Menorah exhibit consisting of many Menorahs given to President Reagan while in the White House.

For the first time ever, letters, gifts and artifacts from President Reagan's collection are also be on display. There is a Christmas card to President Reagan from Pope John Paul II, Christmas letters from President Reagan to Nancy Reagan and the President's White House scrapbooks. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is located in Simi Valley, California.


IN PERSON DUSTIN HOFFMAN Nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance, Dustin Hoffman will be in person to discuss his new film Last Chance Harvey, which will open in theatres late in December. This urban romantic comedy co-stars Emma Thompson, and is about a chance meeting that brings the two characters together in an airport bar. A Q&A with Mr. Hoffman follows the preview screening. Mon, Dec 22, at the 92YTribeca Screening Room, NYC.

HARRY TRUMAN-HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS Portrayed by historian and interpreter Niel Johnson, Harry S. Truman will return to his presidential library for the holidays. America's 33rd president will greet Museum visitors and discuss his presidential experiences at periodic press conferences in the Missouri Auditorium. Niel Johnson is the author of Power, Money and Women: Words to the Wise from Harry S. Truman. Dec. 26- 28, 2008 Museum Galleries, Truman Library, Independence, MO.


For decades governments have passed out surplus cheese to low income people. Comedians make jokes, while moms make mac and cheese.

Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Alton Brown and Giada De Laurentiis let the words Parmigiano Reggiano role off their lips as if singing an Italian aria. Parmigiano Reggiano, Italy's King of Cheese is made by hand by 430 craft producers around the city of Parma. Customers all but bow when passing it in a store. Now the big cheese is in big trouble.

A third of the cheese producers are facing bankruptcy.

While the headlines are on bailing out the auto makers, Italy is getting ready to bale out Parmigiano Reggiano.

Italy's Minister of Agriculture, Luca Zaia, has come to the rescue, promising to buy 100,000 Parmigiano Reggiano wheels, which average 80 pounds per wheel and can retail for up to $33 per pound. Also on Zaia's shopping list are 100,000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano's less costly competitor, Grana Padano. The total comes at an estimated wholesale cost of 50 million Euros or $68,283,374.26.

The cheese will be distributed to the needy. If government bailouts are going to mean that the "needy" get the products, Broadway To Vegas would like to announce a "need" for; a refrigerator, dishwasher, air-conditioner/heat unit, a face-lift and - a big wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Wayne Albritton
offers those who long for a white Christmas exactly that - they'll see snow on stage during the second act - also a bearded man who portrays the stripping Santa.

There is also a Las Vegas connection with this production.

Wayne Albritton has returned for his ninth season as one of The Gentlemen of the Follies. He began his career in the Broadway production of Carnival.

Wayne migrated to Las Vegas where he became a Moro Landis dancer at the Sahara Hotel and the principal singer and dancer for Ann-Margret’s Las Vegas debut. He was lead singer for 13 years in four Donn Arden shows, including the Lido de Paris at the Stardust Hotel and Hallelujah Hollywood at the MGM. Once while backing up during a dance number in a Las Vegas show, he fell off the stage and landed in a front-row lady’s lap. She kissed him. He got up nonchalantly and kept dancing.

After owning and operating two Las Vegas taverns for a decade, he returned to performing and “being a kid again” with the Follies cast.

John Kendrick
At 55 years of age, John Kendrick is the male “ingénue” of the Follies cast this season, his first with the show.

Inspired by television’s Route 66. John packed up his Impala convertible and headed west, landing in Las Vegas. For the next 12 years, he sang and danced in the Lido de Paris at the Stardust Hotel but also performed on many TV variety specials headlined by such stars as Sammy Davis, Jr., Siegfried & Roy, Juliet Prowse and Ann-Margret.

One night, as the line captain for the Lido de Paris, he watched the show from spotlight booths perched high in the ceiling. Siegfried & Roy, the stars, inadvertently showed him the secret to their magical illusions because he was looking down at the top of their heads and “could see everything. If you ever want to saw a lady in half or make an elephant disappear, I’m your man.”

Fabulous Palm Spring Follies performances starring Freda Payne resume on December 27 with eight performances through New Year's Eve December 31. Palm Springs, CA.

Martha Plimpton steals the show
the Roundabout revival. Music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, new book by Richard Greenberg, based on the book by John O’Hara; directed by Joe Mantello. Officially opened last Thursday night at Studio 54.

Set in Chicago in the late 1930s, Pal Joey is the story of Joey Evans, a brash, scheming song and dance man with dreams of owning his own nightclub. Joey abandons his wholesome girlfriend Linda English, to charm a rich, married older woman, Vera Simpson, in the hope that she’ll set him up in business.

Starring Stockard Channing as Vera Simpson, Matthew Risch as Joey Evans, Martha Plimpton as Gladys Bumps and Jenny Fellner as Linda English.

Broadway To Vegas saw this in previews when Tony winner Christian Hoff was starring as Joey. Hoff. He dropped out after a highly publicized foot injury, replaced by Risch. Thus we have seen Pal Joey but not Pal Joey.

Pal Joey has an unusual track record. It premiered on Broadway on December 25, 1940 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre with Gene Kelly in the role of Joey Evans, and ran for 374 performances. In an unusual motivator, the success of a 1950 studio album prompted the first revival which opened January 3, 1952 and closed on April 18, 1953, after 540 performances - setting a record for the longest run of any revival of a musical in the history of the Broadway theatre at the time. In 1976 a revival at the Circle in the Square Theatre with Christopher Chadman, Dixie Carter and Joan Copeland ran for 73 performances.

In 1967 Pal Joey was transferred to the big screen starring Kim Novak, Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth,. This flick is despised by lovers of Rodgers and Hart music and serious Sinatra acting.

The problem with revivals is that they are never permitted to stand on their own. They are always compared to what preceded. Any adult claiming to have seen the original Broadway production is probably communicating during a séance. Those adults that saw the 1976 revival are worried about their retirement. That leaves the film version, which is shown on television, as the one most people outside of the tri-state area might use as a comparison. That movie was also captured in an original cast recording.

Forget anything you have seen or heard about any previous productions.

This one is seamy side, tarted up, dark and dank.

Worth the price of a ticket is the performance by Martha Plimpton who steals the show. She knocks the socks off of Zip a number sung in the film by the character of Vera Simpson. In the beefed up Gladys Bumps role, Plimpton shows a new, sassy fun side to her serious acting credentials. Good-girl ingénue Linda English played here by Jenny Fellner has two added songs, Are You My Love? and I Still Believe in You, which were cut from the original stage version, used in other Rodgers and Hart shows but not in the movie.

Stockard Channing, a beautiful, gifted and talented Broadway veteran puts her own hue on the part of society matron Vera Simpson, which was the Rita Hayworth part in the film version. Channing's big number is Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. Channing's not a singer (neither was Rita Hayworth) and her delivery is thoughtfully musing, as she sits in bed clutching her knees.

The storyline still concerns the triangle romance between Pal Joey, Vera Simpson and Linda English. Any previous fluff has been recolored to reflect the more accurate, steamy, seamy side of the location and era. Alluded to is a romance between Gladys Bumps and Joey English which ended in an abortion. The nightclub manager is gay.

If the celluloid version ranks up there with one of your all time favorites, then this take isn't your cup of entertainment. On the other hand, if you're a Pal Joey virgin, then there is bevy of talent on stage. The score is one of the best and the lyrics some of the most clever ever penned, performed under the musical direction of Paul Gemignani.

Costume designer William Ivey Long never disappoints. This production permits him to effectively run the gamut from elegant to otherwise. Graciela Daniele's choreography is sexy. Scott Pask's twin turntable sets and Paul Gallo’s lighting portray the seedy side of Chicago's 1930s nightclub scene. Sound by Tony Meola; hair and wig design by veteran Paul Huntley; makeup design by Angelina Avallone.

Starring Stockard Channing, Matthew Risch, Martha Plimpton, Jenny Fellner. Mike is portrayed by Robert Clohessy. Daniel Marcus is cast as Ludlow Lowell and Ernest is played by Steven Skybell With: Timothy J. Alex, Brian Barry, Kurt Froman, Bahiyah Sayyed Gaines, Lisa Gajda, Anthony Holds, Nadine Isenegger, Mark Morettini, Kathryn Mowat Murphy, Abbey O’Brien, Nicole Orth-Pallavicini, Hayley Podschun, Krista Saab, Eric Sciotto. Performances through February 15.

THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER a grand showcase which features his biggest and most memorable hits from such musicals as The Phantom of the Opera, Whistle Down the Wind, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunset Boulevard, Evita, and more.

Backed by an onstage symphony, a cast of Broadway veterans - including Tony Award nominee Liz Callaway, Ron Bohmer, David Josefsberg, Eric Kunze and Laurie Gayle Stephenson - who recreates all the thrills from favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber spectaculars.

Last seen in a sold-out engagement in 2004, this new version of the concert has been personally devised by Andrew Lloyd Webber exclusively for Washington audiences and also includes the U.S. premiere of new music by the composer.

The creative and design teams for this engagement will reunite the team behind the 2004 production: director Tom Kosis, musical supervisor and conductor Edward G. Robinson will be center stage conducting the 30-member symphony. The lighting designer is Brian Nason with sound desig by Lucas J. Corrubia, Jr.

Dec 23, 2008 - Jan 4, 2009 at the Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

SPEED THE PLOW Broadway revival of David Mamet's three-character comedy.will have a cast rotation. Jeremy Pivens suddenly left the show and Norbert Leo Butz and William H. Macy will take over. Butz, a Tony winner for his role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, will play Piven's role December 23 through January 11, while Macy takes over for the rest of the run, January 13 through February 22. The play about Hollywood glamour, sex and power also stars Elisabeth Moss of TV's Mad Men and Raul Esparza.


TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA with two touring groups bring holiday cheer this week to the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN on Monday, December 22. On Tuesday the groups will be on stage at the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis and the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. On Friday they can be enjoyed at Air Canada Centre in Toronto and the Alltel Arena in North Little Rock. Saturday finds them at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY and the Century Tel Center in Bossier City, LA.

MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER spreads joy at the Wisconsin Milwaukee Theatre on December 23 and enjoys a two night stand December 26-27 at the Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX.

COLDPLAY close out a two night gig tonight December 21, at The 02 in Dublin, Ireland. On Tuesday they'll be in the spotlight at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland.

RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR will be showing off those high kicks in a three night engagement opening Monday, December 22, at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK. On Friday they'll be delighting the crowds at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City in another three night stand.

AC/DC perform tonight, December 21, at St, Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL.

ELTON JOHN in the spotlight tonight, December 21, at the Evening News Arena in Manchester, England.

BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA entertains Tuesday, December 23 at the Table Mountain Casino in Friant, CA.

THE HOLIDAY CONCERT WITH JAMES BARBOUR opened last night at legendary Sardi's in NYC. The evenings feature "holiday classics and Broadway's greatest songs." Jeremy Roberts is the musical director. Each performance will feature a different guest star. The first concert, showcased Barbour's Tale of Two Cities co-star, Brandi Burkhardt. On Dec. 23 the guest is Natalie Toro. Dec. 26 finds Jodi Graham sharing the stage and on Dec. 27 Deborah Gibson will be sharing the spotlight with Barbour.

DAVID BROZA With 16 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums, Israeli singer-guitarist David Broza has gained fans in every corner of the world. An ambassador for UNICEF, he uses the power of his music to heal and promote international peace. David Broza, vocals & guitar; Jay Beckenstein, saxophone; Julio Fernandez, guitar; Cyro Baptista, percussion; Francisco Centeno, bass. Wednesday, December 24, at 92nd Street Y, NYC.


Photo by Laura Deni
Photo by Laura Deni

Everyone associated with Broadway To Vegas hopes Santa's sleigh is filled with hope for a better New Year and the fulfillment of your wishes and dreams.


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Next Column: December 28, 2008
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Laura Deni