Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: December 6, 2015
By: Laura Deni


In Jaws (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the shark before it strikes again. The movie will be honored on its 40th anniversary.
Taking place December 9-16, 2015 in Dubai, UAE the Dubai International Film Festival has several events of world interest.

Oscar Nominee Jake Gyllenhaal will receive Variety’s International Star of the Year Award.

The publication annually presents this award in acknowledgment of the person's outstanding contribution to the industry.

An exclusive public In Conversation’ with Jake Gyllenhaal Q&A event will be held during the course of the Festival.

Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman, Dubai International Film Festival, said: “Jake Gyllenhaal is a huge talent and undeniably one of the most accomplished actors of his generation. His screen presence has captivated audiences since his earliest roles and he is one of the most versatile actors working today. We are absolutely delighted to honor his extraordinary talents with Variety Magazine’s ‘International Star of the Year’ Award at this year’s festival.”

Steven Gaydos, Vice President, Executive Editor, Variety added: "Jake Gyllenhaal’s promise as an actor was clear almost from the beginning of his illustrious career. Donnie Darko is a cult classic and his work in films such as October Sky, The Good Girl and Moonlight Mile signaled the emergence of a major new acting talent. While his Oscar-nominated turn in Brokeback Mountain delivered on that promise, the last few years have witnessed an explosion of great work that matches the best actors of any generation. Southpaw, Nightcrawler, Enemy, Prisoners, Everest, and End of Watch all demonstrate this vital young artist’s skills, amazing range and the depths to which he’ll travel to find his own unique truth and personal insights into each of these complex and often haunted characters."

Also being honored is Academy Award winning director Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, one of the truly great and lasting classics of American cinema as it marks its 40th year anniversary. The special complimentary presentation screening will be hosted at The Beach on Saturday, December 12, and attended by the legendary actor Richard Dreyfuss.

Jaws, Stephen Spielberg’s breakthrough major motion picture, is credited with being one of the first ‘blockbusters’ and remains one of the most influential and gripping adventures in motion picture history.

When the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town’s chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the shark before it strikes again.

Richard Dreyfuss commented: "I am delighted to be invited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Jaws at The Dubai International Film Festival. In my career I've always been quietly proud of being associated with a movie that has lost none of its power, even 40 years later.”

Legendary actor Omar Sharif’s final film ‘1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham will be screened twice as a World Premiere.

Sharif, whose died this past July, came out of retirement to star in the short film from award-winning director and producer Ahmed Salim.

The UK and UAE co-produced film focuses on the scientific journey of 11th Century Arab polymath and philosopher Ibn Al-Haytham. It follows his journey to discover the nature of light and vision, which helped set the foundation for modern science and named him the father of experimental physics, modern optics and scientific methodology, as well as a grandfather of the camera obscura - the device that forms the basis of photography and cinematography.

Taking the lead role in the short film, Sharif guides younger audiences through a partly animated story-line of Ibn Al-Haytham’s journey into understanding vision.

DIFF’s artistic director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali, commented: “We were deeply saddened by the passing of Omar Sharif, whose career and life has left a lasting impact on the film industry and beyond. DIFF awarded Omar Sharif with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award during the first edition in 2004, and today with his great strides in Arab cinema it is very fitting that we honour his last film in the Muhr Gulf Short Film category, which we strive to ensure showcases the best talent and ingenuity from across the region and to the wider cinematic world.”

The film is officially endorsed by the United Nations proclaimed “International Year of Light” and will be part of an Ibn Al-Haytham global campaign - led by Ahmed Salim in partnership with UNESCO and 1001 Inventions - which includes exhibits, books, live shows and learning materials.

Catherine Deneuve will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
An adaptation of writer Alan Bennett’s iconic and celebrated memoir, The Lady in the Van, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring acclaimed actress Maggie Smith will be unspooled on Sunday, December 13.

Smith plays Miss Shephers, an eccentric elderly woman who, after falling on hard times, decides to temporarily reside in her old van in front of a playwright’s driveway - for fifteen years. The unique and witty story takes us on a journey pertaining to a very odd long-term friendship.

Catherine Deneuve and Naseeruddin Shah will be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Deneuve’s illustrious career spans almost 60 years and includes more than 120 films. Her eminent career has seen her nominated for an astonishing 31 César awards including winning Best Actress for Le Dernier Métro (1980), a romantic drama set in 1940s France, and Indochine (1992), Regis Wargnier's epic about French Indochina for which she also received a Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination at the Academy Awards. For one of her best-known roles, as the lead in Belle du Jour (1967), she was also nominated as Best Actress at the BAFTA Film Awards.

Chairman Juma spoke of the importance of DIFF’s Lifetime Achievement Award:

“Catherine Deneuve is an icon and one of the most influential women in cinema. Her contribution to film across the globe has been phenomenal and we are proud to be honoring her incredible talents at the Festival this year. DIFF is about more than just showcasing film; it is about bridging cultures and bringing worlds together and this sentiment is reflected in the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement awards which will see talented individuals from all around the world recognized for their outstanding contribution to cinema.”

Speaking on her nomination, Catherine Deneuve said: “It is such an honor to receive the Dubai International Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award. I have been lucky enough to work all over the world and to have my work recognized here in the Middle East as well is testament to the cross-cultural and universal appeal of film.”

Shah has appeared in over 200 films in a remarkable and diverse career spanning 40 years.

Chairman Juma commented on the career and legacy of the honoree saying; “Naseeruddin Shah has been a fixture of cinema in India and around the world for a staggering period of time. Few actors ever get the chance to make an impact with their art and the longevity of his career is a testament to his versatility, enduring class and talent. It is an absolute pleasure to welcome Naseeruddin to DIFF and to pay tribute to a colossal volume of high quality work with our Lifetime Achievement Award.”

In a diverse career that has straddled Bollywood and Hollywood, in which he has played the most downtrodden members of Indian society in Paar,, a family patriarch in Monsoon Wedding to Captain Nemo in the blockbuster The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. As an acknowledgement of his achievements, the legendary actor has over 20 nominations and 6 wins at national awards beginning in 197. He is also a winner of the coveted Best Actor Award at Venice Film Festival, which he earned for his performance in 1984’s Paar.

Nasseruddin Shah's latest film Waiting, a poignant drama also starring Kalki Koechlin and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Anu Menon will have its world premiere at the DIFF on Friday, 11th in the Madinat Theatre.

DIFF’s Lifetime Achievement Awards are dedicated to honoring the world’s greatest film industry actors, writers, directors and producers. Previous honorees include Omar Sharif, Faten Hamamah, Adel Imam, Jameel Rateb, Sabah, Morgan Freeman, Sean Penn, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Daoud Abdel Sayed, Youssef Chahine, Rachid Bouchareb, Souleymane Cisse, Nabil El-Maleh, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Terry Gilliam, Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Michael Apted, and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.

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Thank you for your interest.


Photo of Empress Elizabeth's cake courtesy of Touriseum - South Tyrol Museum of Tourism
or what's left of it. To call it hard as a rock could be rude. Let's just say it's well preserved.

That would be a partially eaten piece of cake. Not any old left over confection but one in which Austria's Empress Elizabeth, known as Sissi, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph, had a tiny taste.

The remains are 118 years old and have gone on display at an Italian castle once used by the sovereign as a holiday residence. Now brown-colored, the confection has "sweetened up" the permanent museum collection of Castle Trauttmansdorff in the South Tyrolean town of Merano.

The castle was established in 1300 and at those times it was only a small mansion called Neuberg. When the noble family Trauttmansdorff bought the castle in 1543, they started renovating and extending the building full-scale. After the death of the family the castle was ruinous and until the count Steiermark Joseph von Trauttmansdorff, a relative of the family, bought the castle in 1846. Again the castle was renovated and decorated with neo-Gothic elements. This was also the time in which the castle received the name Castel Trauttmansdorff.

In 1870 Empress Elizabeth came to Merano for the first time and spent her holidays occupying several rooms of the castle. Her presence turned the castle into the "in" place to stay and helped turn the city into 'spa city'.

It was late September 1897 when the Empress Elisabeth took a trip to the village of Nals on the occasion of her fourth and final stay in the spa town of Meran. There she visited the Sonnenwirt (Sun) inn. In high excitement the landlady baked a cake.

Although noted for her slim figure and weight obsession, in 1987 she was served desert. Being a polite - and perhaps hungry - she took a tiny taste of a bite. Whoever cut that neat sliver used a sharp knife and did a neat job. Sissi presumably ate the more like a crumb mouthful and left the remaining cake.

Not letting anything go to waste, and knowing the value of a royal taste-bud endorsement, the cake was subsequently carefully kept and taken by the landlady's son to Algund, where the celebrity leftover was preserved. Like a prized family heirloom, the cake was passed down generation to generation.

"Yes, the cake was served to Elisabeth in September 1897, one year prior to her death. It was her last visit in Meran," museum spokeswoman Evelyn Reso, PhD told Broadway To Vegas in answering our questions.

"No one ever has tried to duplicate the cake and unfortunately, there is no recipe," she continued. "The cake has been private property until now. The heirs of the innkeeper who made the cake now donated it to the museum."

It was very important for Walburga and Franz Mair, proprietors of the Kapellgut in Algund, to make sure that this family heirloom found a safe home that was both accessible to visitors and in some way connected to the Empress's stay in Meran. The Director of the Touriseum, Patrick Gasser, expressed his thanks to the Mair family for their valuable gift: "This donation enriches our permanent exhibition on the former inhabitants of Trauttmansdorff Castle. The Empress's recurring stays in Meran and at Trauttmansdorff Castle were a particular reason for the tourist boom that the city witnessed in the final third of the 19th century".

During and after WWI the castle changed hands several times and finally, in 1977 it was handed over to provincial administration. In 2003, the Provincial Museum for Tourism, short Touriseum, was inaugurated - the first museum in the alpine area, which is fully dedicated to the history of tourism.

"During December the museum opens on weekends and after 25th March it is open every day until November," Resso added.

Every Saturday morning the Meran Music School stages concerts in the Deuster Hall, while on Sunday the Empress Elisabeth's "lady-in-waiting" guides visitors through the castle rooms (in Italian).


Frank Sinatra would have turned 100 on December 12th.
Las Vegas was Sinatra's playground and everyone wanted to play in his sandbox. When people longingly say - 'the Las Vegas good old days' - 'the Rat Pack Days' - 'like Vegas used to be' - they are talking about Frank Sinatra. If Bugsy Siegel built it, from an entertainment standpoint, Sinatra put Sin City on the map.

In 1973 - five years before John Legend was born - I wrote the lead article for a Billboard Frank Sinatra special. In that article I described Sinatra in many ways including "the middle-aged Lothario double timed it through life . . . And as a man the archetype of every man's fantasies . . . He has always given more than the best of himself, Power, no excuses . . . Sinatra is a man for all seasons; an attitude, not an age. He had has the failure due to his not giving a damn. And he rose again to the top . . . Nobody has ever said Sinatra was a pushover to work with. Believe it or not there are people who say Sinatra is a flat out bastard to work for . . . When you remember love, spring, haunting nights you remember Sinatra."

In another Sinatra article I pointed out that both men and women idolized him because women wanted him and men wanted to be him.

Tonight, Sunday, December 6, the All Star Grammy concert celebrating what would have been The Chairman of the Board's 100th birthday on December 12, airs on CBS.

It appears to be one of the best musical specials put together in ages.

The don't miss it show delivers a 30-Song celebration taped last week at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas.

Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Zac Brown, Harry Connick, Jr., Celine Dion, Nick Jonas, Quincy Jones, Juanes, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Adam Levine, LL COOL J, Seth MacFarlane, Katharine McPhee, Robert Patrick, Jeremy Renner, Nancy Sinatra, Sam Smith, Carrie Underwood, Usher, and Trisha Yearwood honor the remarkable legacy of Sinatra by celebrating the late icon by showcasing superstar musicians performing classic songs made famous by the crooner. "Most of the artists will sing arrangements as originally crafted for Sinatra by giants Don Costa, Gordon Jenkins, Quincy Jones, and Nelson Riddle," said a statement released by three-time Grammy winner Don Was, music director for the concert.

Directed by Lou Horvitz, and written by David Wild and Ken Ehrlich, the special includes:

All The Way – Celine Dion
The Best Is Yet To Come – Adam Levine
I'll Be Seeing You – Trisha Yearwood
In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning – Nick Jonas
I've Got A Crush On You – Alicia Keys
I've Got The World On A String – Tony Bennett
The Lady Is A Tramp – Garth Brooks
Luck Be A Lady – Harry Connick, Jr.
Medley: Change Partners, One Note Samba, The Girl From Ipanema – Juanes
Medley: Come Fly With Me, Bewitched, Stars Fell On Alabama, Learning The Blues – Zac Brown, Seth MacFarlane, Carrie Underwood Medley: Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week), I Get A Kick Out Of You, You Make Me Feel So Young, My Kind Of Town, You And Me (We Wanted It All) – Connick, Jr., John Legend, Levine, Katharine McPhee
My Funny Valentine – Sam Smith
One For My Baby – MacFarlane
Someone To Watch Over Me – Underwood
Somethin' Stupid – Connick, Jr., Nancy Sinatra
That's Life – Usher
Theme From New York, New York – Lady Gaga
The Way You Look Tonight – Brown
Young At Heart – Legend

In close partnership with the Sinatra family, "Sinatra 100 — An All-Star Grammy Concert" is produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures, LLC. Ken Ehrlich is the executive producer.

Sinatra was a nine time Grammy winner. Among Sinatra's wins are three for Album Of The Year for Come Dance With Me (1959), September Of My Years (1965) and A Man And His Music (1966). Additional recognition from The Recording Academy includes a Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy Legend Award, and 13 recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.


DADDY LONG LEGS has partnered with Livestream to make history as the first Broadway or off-Broadway performance to be broadcast over the Internet free of charge on Thursday, December 10 at 8:00 pm EST.

Featuring music and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Paul Gordon, book by Tony Award and Olivier Award winner John Caird, and direction by John Caird, Daddy Long Legs opened at the Davenport Theatre in New York City on September 10, 2015.

Megan McGinnis and Adam Halpin star in the live stream performance of the new musical.

Daddy Long Legs based upon the movie of the same name, tells the extraordinary tale of Jerusha Abbott (McGinnis), the oldest orphan in the John Grier Home. One day, a rich, anonymous benefactor (Halpin) decides to send her to college, but she must write him a letter once a month. Unaware of his identity, she invents a nickname for him: Daddy Long Legs. Through her brilliant and witty letters, Jerusha shares her experiences of college while discovering her own identity and reveling in the wonders of literature, adventure and love. But one key fact eludes her - who is Daddy Long Legs?

Daddy Long Legs premiered at the Rubicon Theatre Company in 2009, and has had acclaimed productions throughout the United States as well as international productions in Canada, Tokyo and London's West End. The show was originally produced by a consortium that includes the Rubicon Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and TheatreWorks Palo Alto, The Gem Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, and David Elzer. Megan McGinnis originated the role of Jerusha at the Rubicon Theatre Company and has received the 2010 Los Angeles Ovation Award, an Indy Award (West Coast) and the Acclaim Award (Cincinnati), for her role in Daddy Long Legs.

Scenic and costume design by Olivier Award winner and Tony Award nominee David Farley and lighting design by Paul Toben.

LADY GAGA will be honored as Billboard’s 2015 Woman Of The Year at the prestigious event held at Cipriani Midtown in New York, on December 11, 2015. The event will air on Lifetime on December 18th.

WHEN IT COMES will have free public workshop presentations, staged by The Old Globe in San Diego, marks the culmination of Mike Sears’s 2015 San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst Grant. Inspired by writer Sears’s real-life experiences, the piece was developed in collaboration with a team of local artists: four San Diego actors, puppetry by Animal Cracker Conspiracy (Iain Gunn and Bridget Rountree), music by Clinton Davis, and direction by Sears’s wife, Lisa Berger.

When it Comes is a folktale with music about Buck and Erma, a young, optimistic, blue-collar couple who build a house only to discover they need the moon to make it complete. They begin a journey to retrieve the moon, one that will test the very fabric of their love.

The cast features Samantha Ginn as Erma, Jeffrey Howard Ingman as He, Li-Anne Rowswell as She, and Connor Sullivan as Buck, with stage directions read by Molly Maslak. Clinton Davis and Batya MacAdam-Somer serve as musicians. The puppeteers of Animal Cracker Conspiracy are Iain Gunn and Bridget Rountree.

The creative team includes Andrew Layton (Scenic Consultant), Liz Shipman (Movement Consultant), Sammy Bauman-Martin (Stage Manager), and Taylor Todd (Production Manager/Assistant Stage Manager).

There will be four free workshop performances - open to the public - Friday, December 11 through Sunday, December 13 at The Studio Theatre at University of San Diego.

THE OLD GLOBE AND UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Program has been renamed as The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program in honor of Donald and Darlene Shiley.

“The new name reflects the Shileys’ passion for the theatre and investment in The Old Globe and M.F.A. program over the years,” said University of San Diego Provost Andrew T. Allen. “We are grateful for their tremendous support that has allowed the Shiley Graduate Theatre Program to become one of the most acclaimed classical training programs in the United States.”

“The philanthropy of Darlene and Donald Shiley is the bedrock on which The Old Globe stands,” said Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “They have shaped the future of our field in the form of the actors who go on to important work after graduating the acclaimed classical training program that now bears the Shiley name. We are glad of this opportunity to honor Donald’s memory and grateful for Darlene's continuing support.”

Private funding for the M.F.A. program has been contributed through a generous endowment established by the Shileys that allows students to attend tuition-free. In 2010, they also gave a substantial gift to endow the Craig Noel Distinguished Professorship in Graduate Theater, in honor of the Old Globe’s founding director.

Currently the Shiley Graduate Theatre Program accepts seven students each year from hundreds of applicants. With only a two-percent acceptance rate, it has become one of the most competitive graduate acting programs in the country.

THE THEATER AT THE 14th STREET Y in New York City presents, Time Keepers, an original production written by Rachel Sherk with an original musical score by Aaron Rourk on December 12th and 13th, 2015 . This imaginative tale is about magical creatures that live in the stars and build the first clock, creating time. The story is told through puppets and live music and features magic winds, silver dewdrops, talking animals, a loon and a moon.

This story begins before the birth of time, when the Earth existed in two halves-the Land Under the Sun and the Land Under the Moon. Follow a Loon as she journeys between these lands. See her befriend a group of magical creatures called the Time Keepers, who are friendly creatures living inside of clocks and keeping track of time, wishes and dreams.

THE AMERICAN THEATRE CRITICS ASSOCIATION (ATCA) has announced the names of the six finalists for the 2015 Francesca Primus Prize. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000, is given annually to an emerging woman playwright.

The six finalists are Liz Duffy Adams for her play A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World, Nambi Kelley for her adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son, Tira Palmquist for her play Ten Mile Lake, Yasmine Rana for her play The War Zone Is My Bed, Sharyn Rothstein for her play By the Water, and Catherine Trieschmann for her play Hot Georgia Sunday.

A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World revisits Arthur Miller’s The Crucible 10 years after the Salem witch trials. Liz Duffy Adams’ play was produced by Moxie Theatre in San Diego.

Nambi Kelley’s Native Son, which debuted at the Court Theatre in Chicago, turns a dramatic eye on Richard Wright’s classic portrait of Bigger Thomas, an impoverished and oppressed black man from Chicago’s south side who falls victim to mainstream white society. To depict the conflicted feelings raging within Thomas, Kelley ingeniously creates an alter ego, the Black Rat.

Tira Palmquist found the perfect place to stage Ten Mile Lake - a dock in Serenbe, Georgia, that dramatically duplicated the play’s setting. Ten Mile Lake portrays the uneasy relationship between a dying father, Howard, and his daughter, Maggie, when she returns home to care for him. Howard’s caregiver, Donny, the play’s third character, becomes a crucial link between the two. The Serenbe Playhouse produced the play.

Yasmine Rana’s The War Zone Is My Bed follows the interlocking stories of six characters caught up in the war in the Balkans and Middle East. The play focuses on the impact of war, especially on women, and asks provocative questions about the role of journalists and the effect of what they write on both themselves and those around them. The Halcyon Theatre in Chicago produced the play.

Sharyn Rothstein’s By the Water” is set on Staten Island during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Manhattan Theatre Club debuted the play.

Catherine Trieschmann offers a slice of rural, small-town, working-class life in Hot Georgia Sunday. The play uses a series of interrelated monologues to tell the same stories from several different points of view. Hot Georgia Sunday premiered at the Haven Theatre in Chicago.

The six finalists were selected from 39 award applicants by a nationwide committee of critics, chaired by Barbara Bannon (Salt Lake City, UT) and composed of Julie York Coppens (Juneau, AK), Marianne Evett (Arlington, MA), Kerry Reid (Chicago, IL), Lynn Rosen (Bellingham, WA), and Herb Simpson (Geneseo, NY). Playwrights can nominate themselves for the award or be nominated by theater companies where their work has appeared.

“The Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation was established to recognize and support emerging women artists who are making a difference in the theater community in which they work,” observed Barry Primus, the foundation administrator. The Primus Prize originated in 1997 in memory of actress and critic Francesca Primus.

ATCA is the nationwide organization of theater critics and an affiliate of the International Association of Theatre Critics. In addition to the Primus Prize, it administers two other playwriting awards: the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award.


DAVID HENRY HWANG the Tony Award winning playwright who took home the award in 1988 for M. Butterfly was the victim of a slashing attack near his Brooklyn home.

In a report first printed by The New York Daily News, Hwang who is now a professor at Columbia University was walking on South Oxford Avenue near Lafayette Avenue when an unknown attacker slashed his neck from behind around 8:50 PM on November 30.

The Fort Green Focus reported that the sidewalk was splattered with blood and quoted neighbors as saying Hwang almost died.

The playwright was carrying groceries home when he felt pain in his neck and realized he was bleeding. He saw no attacker fleeing, but an artery was cut and he lost a lot of blood. The 58-year-old managed to walk to Brooklyn Hospital where he was treated and then released.

“Thanks to the excellent work of the doctors at Brooklyn Hospital and Mount Sinai, I’m now home and expected to make a full recovery,” Hwang told the Daily News.

No arrest has been made in the case.

Hwang's Broadway credits include plays Face Value, Golden Child and Chinglish. He also wrote the librettos to musicals Aida and Tarzan, and updated Oscar Hammerstein II and Joseph Fields' book to Flower Drum Song for the 2002 revival.

THE COLOR PURPLE based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize winning novel and the Warner Bros. Amblin Entertainment motion picture, The Color Purple is adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winner Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Grammy award winners Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

Directed by John Doyle.

Grammy, Academy Award, and Golden Globe award winner Jennifer Hudson makes her Broadway debut opposite Cynthia Erivo, the breakout star of John Doyle's acclaimed Menier Chocolate Factory production, and Orange is the New Black's Danielle Brooks star. All three women are making their Broadway debuts.

They are joined by Isaiah Johnson in the role of 'Mister;' Joaquina Kalukango as 'Nettie;' Kyle Scatliffe will be taking on the role of 'Harpo with Phoenix Best, Dwayne Clark, Lawrence Clayton, Carrie Compere, Patrice Covington, Adrianna Hicks, Bre Jackson, Grasan Kingsberry, Kevyn Morrow, Ken Robinson, Antoine L. Smith, Carle R. Stewart, Akron Watson, and Rema Webb completing the ensemble.

An unforgettable story of enduring love and triumph over adversity. With a fresh, joyous score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, this stirring family chronicle follows the inspirational Celie, as she journeys from childhood through joy and despair, anguish and hope to discover the power of love and life.

Opens Thursday, December 10, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City.

PETER PAN PANTO starring David Hasselhoff.

Climb aboard for the journey to the magical Neverland for Scotland’s biggest pantomime.

Join David Hasselhoff, panto favorites The Krankiesand in the 2015 pantomime spectacular which features 3D effects, music and laughter.

Joining the trio at the SECC will be Glasgow’s own Pop Idol Michelle McManus who will play the role of Mimi the Magical Mermaid. Michelle will be on hand to help the high-flying hero outwit Captain Hook, guide the Lost Boys to safety and ensure the swashbuckling family pantomime goes off with a bang.

Peter Pan will also feature the mind-blowing Whizzbang 3D Productions which will take audiences from the comfort of their seats to the depths of the ocean in a spectacular underwater 3D sequence.

Saturday, December 12, 2015 through Sunday, January 3, 2016 at the SECC Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow, Scotland.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY musical staging by Jennifer Cody, and inspired by the classic American film.

Directed by Hunter Foster.

It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. This beloved American holiday classic, that tells the story of idealistic George Bailey as he considers his demise one fateful Christmas Eve, comes to captivating life with the help of an ensemble that brings over two dozen characters to the stage. It premiered in 1996 and has since been produced countless times around the country to critical acclaim.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play was originally produced at Bucks County Playhouse in December, 2012, directed by Gordon Greenberg with musical staging by Lorin Latarro.

December 11, 2015 — December 27, 2015 at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA.

MOTHER STRUCK! autobiographical solo show written and performed by spoken word artist and bestselling author Staceyann Chin.

Directed by Cynthia Nixon.

The heartfelt, hilarious show follows Chin’s personal journey to motherhood as a single woman who does not have health insurance or a “serious, stable financial set up,” but wants to have a child. Told through Chin’s uniquely personal and poetic lens, this solo show explores how the process changed her life and how she makes peace with what she learns from this profound experience.

Previews begin December 4th, with an official opening set for December 14th at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in New York City.


MADONNA has a two night stand beginning Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at the Accor Hotels Arena in Paris, France. On Saturday she's in the spotlight at the Hallenstadion Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland.

THE VIENNA BOYS CHOIR present Christmas in Vienna. The illustrious group of child musicians has been delighting music lovers across the globe for six centuries with their purity of tone, distinctive charm and popular repertoire. Christmas in Vienna showcases these gifted musicians in an extraordinary program featuring Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, and holiday favorites. Saturday, December 12, 2015 at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts in Brooklyn, NY.

THE TEN TENORS in their Home for the Holidays show presents a soaring selection of traditional and contemporary favorites of the season performed by Australia's rock stars of opera. Two night gig opens Thursday, December 10 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona.

KRISTIN CHENOWETH opens a two nighter on December 8, 2015 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Nashville, TN.

BEN FOLDS performs Tuesday, December 8, at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, NC.

THE VON TRAPPS of the famed Sound of Music family, join Broadway's Stephanie J. Block and the Washington Chorus for an evening of Christmas classics & new holiday tunes. You may even get a glimpse of Santa. December 10-12 at the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

LAURA OSNES performs December 11-12 at The Smith Center in Las Vegas.


SCOTT WEILAND the former frontman for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, died in his sleep Thursday, December 3, 2015, while on tour in Bloomington, Minnesota. He was 48 and had struggled with addiction.

Police said they found cocaine in the singer’s bedroom and elsewhere on the bus.

The band’s bassist Tommy Black was arrested and charged with felony drug possession, according to TMZ.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Two-time Grammy Award winner Scott Weiland was a grunge icon and a true modern day, rock and roll front man. From the massive success he achieved as the original lead vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots to his work with rock supergroup Velvet Revolver and his most recent venture with the Wildabouts, Scott’s extraordinary talent and captivating performances will forever live on and inspire legions of rock fans worldwide. We have lost an innovative member of our creative community and our sincerest condolences go out to Scott’s family, friends, collaborators and all who have been impacted by his incredible work."

Weiland married Janina Castaneda on September 17, 1994; the couple divorced in 2000. He married model Mary Forsberg on May 20, 2000. In late 2001, Weiland was arrested on domestic violence charges in Las Vegas, Nevada, for allegedly shoving Mary. However, the charges were eventually deferred upon the couple agreeing to counseling. Soon after, Forsberg filed for divorce but the couple eventually reconciled. In addition to his wife he is survived by two children, Noah Mercer and Lucy Olivia.

THOM THOMAS a writer whose work encompassed stage, television and film, died in Los Angeles on December 2, 2015 from acute leukemia. He was 80.

Thomas was a Pittsburgh, PA area native where in the 1960s and 70s he directed plays and musicals at Pittsburgh Playhouse, Civic Light Opera, Little Lake Theatre and his own summer theater – The Odd Chair Playhouse. In 1966 he became a member of the American Conservatory Theatre under the helm of William Ball. He received the Cameron Overseas Grant from Carnegie Mellon University to study in Europe where he joined the Young Vic theatre. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1967, he joined the faculty at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, where he led the theatre department from 1974-77. He became artistic director at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and was also the artistic director for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera in 1972.

His first play, The Interview, premiered at the Pittsburgh Playhouse starring Jose Ferrer and in 1976 had an Off-Broadway run starring Louis Edmonds.

He moved New York City in 1976 to concentrate on writing for the stage, and several of his plays were produced Off-Broadway and in London, including Without Apologies (Hudson Guild - NY; The Open Space - London); The Ball Game (Playwrights Horizons - NY); and Approaching Zero (LaMaMa ETC - NY). In 1981 producer Steven Bochco, who had been Thomas' classmate in the playwriting program at CMU, asked him to come to Los Angeles to write several episodes for the TV series, Hill Street Blues. That led to numerous other writing gigs for TV series. He also was story editor for series in development at Universal Studios.

More recently, Thomas concentrated on writing plays. The drama A Moon To Dance By received several regional productions including a 2009 version starring Jane Alexander, Robert Cuccioli and Gareth Saxe, directed by Edwin Sherin at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and reprised at The George Street Playhouse with the same cast and creative team. The play was short listed for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Other plays that were produced Off-Broadway were Without Apologies and The Ball Game. In L.A., Set In Motion premiered in 1995 at the Group Repertory Theatre and was nominated for ADA Best Play. .

Most recently, he co-authored with Iris Rainer Dart, the book for the Broadway-aimed musical adaptation of the movie Beaches. The production was staged last summer at the Chicago-area's Drury Lane Theatre.

Filming of Thomas' completed screenplay adaptation of the novel Vanished is expected to begin in spring 2016.

Thomas was a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and The Writer's Guild of America, west. Thomas was the recipient of a number of grants, including from the Ford Foundation (1969) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1978).

He is survived by his husband, Janis Purins.

Next Column: December 13, 2015
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Laura Deni

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