If Cupid has flung an arrow your way, you can get married by an Elvis impersonator, that would
be Ron DeCar who owns the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.
Or, how about walking the plank at the wedding chapel at Treasure Island. On Valentine's Day a
rope swinging pirate will assist Kelly Jeffers and Russell Smith of Buellton, California in doing
just that. As winners of the Treasure Island Valentine Day contest they will be married by the
captain of the HMS Britannia, one of the ships that does nightly battle in the moat outside the
hotel. If you fork over $100 and you can make it legal standing next to the wax replica of your
favorite celebrity at Madame Tusseau's Wax Museum at the Venetian Hotel.
Candy is dandy, but liquor is
quicker. Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
Kick in $800-$1400 and you can tell yourself that queasy feeling isn't because you're getting
committed, it's because you're on water - being married while in a gondola floating down the
canal at the Venetian Hotel. While some love canals may have toxic waste, this one is surrounded
by high end stores.
Last year 114,000 couples got married in Las Vegas. This Valentine's Day week the lines are two
hours long to get a license, the marriage license bureau is opening 24 hours a day to try to
accommodate the 1,000 couples expected each day. The average wedding ceremony takes 15
minutes. Rings purchased at wedding chapels are electroplated with a five-year guarantee.
Sometimes the marriages last that long.
CAROL CHANNING AND CHARLES LOWE made
it legal in Boulder city, Nevada in July, 1956.
Broadway star Carol Channing exchanged vows with Las Vegas ad executive turned TV producer
Charles Lowe in a ceremony in Boulder City, Nevada. After 41 years of marriage and over 4,500
performance starring in Hello Dolly, the saucer-eyed, raspy voiced Channing announced
that 87 year old Lowe had only had sex with her twice in 41 years, had been having an affair with
a man and beat her. The star hired divorce lawyer Raoul Felder and filed a 20-page petition in Los
Angeles District Court.
Not all Nevada celebrity unions end in the Ripley's Believe It or Not category.
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme jumped the broom at the home of Beldon Katleman two days
before ringing in 1957. Also still happily married are Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Their
bliss was officially sanctioned at the El Rancho Vegas in 1958.
STEVE LAWRENCE AND EYDIE GORME proved
their love was here to stay
For romantic inspiration how about going on an adults only sex tour of the Central Park Wildlife
Center. Get your libido going by watching the sex antics of slugs - unless that's how you already
categorize your own sex life. Princeton grad Dr. Donna Fernandes, who got that Ph.D. by writing
her thesis on sex change in terrestrial slugs leads special Valentine's Day weekend "Jungle Love"
tour at the Central Park Wildlife Center, NYC. Emphasis will be placed on the amazing varieties
of male genitalia.
Once you've got your date hot to trot you'll find courting doesn't come cheap. Even a female
scorpion fly won't have sex with a male fly until he presents her with a large insect to snack on -
thereby beginning the long standing "feed her first" tradition. A dinner for two at Mary Elaine's in
Scottsdale, Arizona will set you back an average of $346.10. If that dinner led to a marriage
proposal Kleinfeld in Brooklyn has the largest bridal-gown selection in America - over 800
dresses in stock. A wedding dress costing $125 in 1928 would be $1,221 in today's dollars. In the
early part of the 20th century it was difficult to distinguish between the bride and her attendants
because they all wore white. However, in Miami, Florida laws on the books indicate that it is
illegal for a man to wear a strapless gown.
After the 1934 wedding of Princess Marina of Greece to the Duke of Kent all brides decided
they wanted to be queen for a day, wearing tiaras and tulle veils.
Las Vegas doesn't have a lock on interesting ways to get hitched. 55 couples will get married on
Valentine's Day on what's being called the "World's Highest Wedding Chapel" - the 110th floor
observation deck of the Empire State Building. Couples selected wrote a 50-word essay
explaining why they thought being married 1,400 feet above sea level would be the perfect way to
cement a union. For inspiration think An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in
This is big business. At Disney World there is a $7 million wedding pavillion where 2,300
wedding a year are conducted.
At Sea world in Orlando you can tie the knot in front of Shamu the Whale with beginning prices
at $1,750. A sea lion named Clyde who wears a white satin bow and is trained to serves as ring
bearer. Or, a ceremony can be performed in the penguin den, called the "formal option" since the
birds are already wearing tuxedos.
BETTY BUCKLEY IN VEGAS
Betty Buckley made her Las Vegas debut last Tuesday night at the Art Ham Hall at the University
of Nevada.This was not just Buckley's Las Vegas debut - the engagement marked the
first time the performer had even been in Las Vegas.
She was wide eyed!
"I wish they had loaned me my Norma Desmond costumes. How can I compete with that gold
cape Shirley Bassey wears?" said Buckley referring to her starring role in Sunset
Boulevard and Bassey performing at the MGM-Grand.
"This town is incredible! I'd only seen Las Vegas in the movies. Why, that Strip! Every hotel is
like a different city. You can be anywhere you want to be - all on the same street.
Buckley took the time to see the O production at the Bellagio and Wayne Newton's show
at the Stardust.
As for her own debut, she overcame an anxious audience that began clapping after the show was
20 minutes late in starting. Backed by four standout musicians, Buckley entered the stage then
quickly retreated to whisper something to a person in the wings. After a few bars of an up tempo
arrangement of Hello young Lovers/Almost Like Being In Love she motioned for her
musicians to speed up.
Before too many minutes had passed the multi-talented lady had won over a crowd that was
prepared to like her from the get-go.
BETTY BUCKLEY on stage
It was gratifying to see the hall, which seats over 1,000, filled with so many students. Whether
they were comped, or got tickets at a discounted rate doesn't matter a whit. What matters is that
they were not only there, but collectively knew her background, repertoire, and appreciated the
music If anybody thinks good musicianship and singing is only appreciated by the over 40 set,
this crowd would have set them straight.
The personable performer talks almost as much as she sings. She is a down home Texas bred gal
who acts like you're her pal and she's dishing the dirt about auditioning for parts she didn't get
and explaining about the ones she did.
Along the way she delivers pop standards before belting out what the audience came to hear - her
expected showstoppers Memories from Cats and With One Look from
Sunset Boulevard. She surprised with a Mary Chapin Carpenter creation Come On
Come On, which Buckley - without further elaboration - told the crowd was her personal
Buckley is on a cross-country tour explaining "I do concert work to make a living. It's the
mainstay to my livelihood," she explained. The one time Miss American contestant who has two
Emmy nominations and a Tony Award, recently received her first Grammy nomination for Best
Spoken Word Album. For The Diaries of Adam & Eve: Translated by Mark Twain,
produced by Don Roberts. What Buckley says she's really like to do "is direct."
In her Vegas debut she was backed by her long time pianist/musical director Kenny Werner,
James Haddad on drums and percussion, Tony Marino, bass; and Billy Drewes on reeds. Buckley
spotlighted each in solo turns. All were enthusiastically received by the audience.
She returns to the Cafe Carlyle, NYC on Tuesday for a five-week stint. That engagement will
showcase the premiere of songs from her latest recording Heart To Heart, set for release
to coincide with the Carlyle engagement.
TAKING A CHANCE ON
John Treville Latouche's life was beset by contradictions - gifted yet obsessively self-destructive;
openly gay yet married; a patriot who penned one of FDR's inaugural speeches yet blacklisted as a
communist sympathizer. His life ended abruptly at the age of 41, when personal happiness and
professional fulfillment seemed to be at hand.
A new musical about the life and work of lyricist Latouche Taking A Chance On
Love begins performances February 15 at The York Theatre Company, NYC.
His ancestry was French Heugenot and Irish on his father's side - his mother Jewish. After his
parents divorced, John and his brother Louis were raised alone, by their mother, Effie, a
seamstress in genteel poverty.
He attended Columbia University on a scholarship. But in his sophomore year he found himself
awash in trouble when the book, music and lyrics he penned for Columbia's Varsity Show of
1935, Flair-Flair, the Idol of Paree - described by John as "Rabelaisian," caused such a stir
that the University created a censorship board to oversee future student shows. John left
He concentrated on writing for the musical theatre. His first show was Murder In the Old Red
Bar, a 1936 off-Broadway revival of the Victorian melodrama potboiler, for which he wrote
two songs with composer Richard Lewine.
ETHEL WATERS died in 1977 at age
His famed soared with Cabin in the Sky which starred Ethel Waters, with an original book
by Lynn Root, music by Vernon Duke and choreography by George Balanchine. The song
Taking a Chance on Love was written for Waters to sing in Cabin.
Six days after Cabin in the Sky opened on Broadway, John married Theodora (Teddy)
Griffs, the daughter of a wealthy WASP Connecticut family. Her father, Stanton Griffs, was the
former Ambassador to Spain and the Chairman of the Board for both Paramount Pictures and
Madison Square Garden. Their marriage lasted barely four years, primarily because both John and
Teddy were gay. They would remain life long friends and eventually each would end up in a
settled gay relationship.
KAYE BALLARD introduced Lazy
Perhaps best known for writing the lyrics to The Golden Apple with music by Jerome
Moross, choreography by Hanya Holm and direction by Holm and Norman Lloyd - the 1954
production starred Stephen Douglass, Priscilla Gillette, Charlotte Rae, Portia Nelson and Kaye
Ballard as Helen of Troy, who introduced Lazy Afternoon, turning it into a
John's The Ballad of Baby Doe was an opera based on the real life tale of the romance
between silver magnate Horace Tabor and the divorcee named Baby Doe for whom he left his
first wife, Augusta. It premiered in Colorado's Central City in July, 1956 to great acclaim.
Optioned for Broadway, it was ultimately produced at City Opera in New York in 1958. It made
a star out of Beverly Sills in the title role and is one of the few American operas to join the
BEVERLY SILLS The Ballad of Baby Doe
made her a star
In 1952, after considerable work in analysis to deal with psychological problems stemming at least
in part from trying to deal with accepting his sexual orientation, John formed a life partnership
with rising young poet and librettist Kenward Elmslie (the Broadway musical The Grass
Harp, and the operas Lizzie Borden, Miss Julie, Washington Square) who was 15
years his junior.
They set up housekeeping in a penthouse on East 67th Street, where John oversaw a virtually 24
hour artistic salon, welcoming the elite for drinks, debate, gossip and sex.
John's circle included such luminaries as Tennessee Williams, Jane and Paul Bowles, Carson
McCullers, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Lena Horne, Hans Richter, Man Ray, Frank O'Hara,
Jack Kerouac, e.e. Cumings, Jean-Paul Sartre, Virgil Thomson, Aaron Copeland, John Cage,
Libby Holman, Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, George Balanchine, Vernon
Duke, Valerie Bettis, Dawn Powell, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamps, Marlene Dietrich, Marlon
Brando, Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger, Oliver Smith, Cheryl Crawford, Ned Rorem, Katherine
Dunham, Dr. Max Jacobson - the infamous "Dr. Feelgood" who gave shots of pure speed to
celebrities, telling them it was an "herbal cocktail," - Yul Brynner, Miles Kreuger, Jerome
Robbins, and more.
MARLON BRANDO part of the
artistic salon crowd
In 1954, John and Kenward bought a house in the country, outside the town of Calais, VT. They
dubbed it Poets Corner and used it for romantic privacy and as an escape from the frenetic city life. It was there that John died, suddenly, of a massive heart attack, in the early hours of
Tuesday, August 7, 1956, just after completing revisions on Baby Doe and while
working on revisions to his Act I lyrics for Candide. Though his age was reported as 38,
he was actually 41 years old. He is buried in the local cemetery, about a mile down the road form
Poets Corner, where John's life partner, Kenward Elmslie, still resides.
Taking a Chance on Love was devised by Erik Haagensen, with music by Leonard
Bernstein, Duke Ellington, Vernon Duke, Jerome Moross and others. This two act musical tells
the colorful and complex story of his life through his contemporaries and with excerpts from
Latouche's unpublished personal journals, letters and poetry.
CAROL CHANNING starred in The
Latouche's musical styles ranged from traditional musical theatre and operetta to
He wrote the book and/or lyrics to more than twenty musicals between
1936 and 1956,
including Beggers Holiday, and The Vamp starring Carol Channing.
The cast of Taking A Chance On Love includes Jerry Dixon, Donna English, Ram Isaacs,
and Eddie Korbich.
The creative team includes direction and scenic design by James Morgan,
musical direction by Jeffrey R. Smith, musical staging by Janet Watson, costume design by Suzy
Benzinger, lighting design by Ryan K. Schmidt and production stage management by Jack
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CONFIDENTIALLY COLE starring
Sean Harden has begun a limited engagement at the Triad Theater, NYC. This new, provocative
theatrical endeavor focuses on the "other side" of Porter - the musical world of numerous sexual
yearnings and heartbreaks.
During his time, Porter's conflicting passion produced a collection of
over 800 songs, many with recurring themes of forbidden love, longing and obsession. He lived
life and music with style, energy, and a hearty appreciation for the subtle, the grandiose, the lovely
and the silly. Although married for 34 years, Cole had several intimate relationships during those
years. Thus his double life was infused throughout his music with coded references to his lifestyle
as well as a fatalistic view of love.
Hayden uses the music and lyrics of Porter with additional music by Steve Ross and Ann
Hampton Callaway to produce a look at the music and life of one of the 20th century's great
musical theatre composers.
Confidentially Cole is directed by Lina Koutrakos. Music director and co-arranger is Rick
Jenson. Production supervision by Sally Harden. Conceived with co-arrangement by Sean
Hayden, technical direction by Johnny Walker. The original CD of Confidentially, Cole,
will be released in late February. A national tour of the show begins in late Spring.
CHIHULY GLASS SHOW Dubbed
the Tiffany of contemporary glass, Dale Chihuly: Installations, is an exhibition devoted to his large-scale environmental work. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE Feb. 12-June 4. This is
expected to be the best-attended exhibition of 1999-2000 in the Midlands.
LES MISERABLES Music Hall,
Kansas City, Missouri. February 16-20.
A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY by
and starring Roger Guenveur Smith. Author/performer Smith earned an Obie Award for this
riveting exploration of the Black Panther Party leader. Based on Newton's own brilliant,
incendiary words, this virtuoso performance illuminates the private man behind the public myth.
Skirball Center, L.A. February 16-20.
GOING TO THE RIVER the 2nd
annual celebration of African-American women playwrights takes place at the Ensemble Studio
Theatre, NYC February 12-20. This event features the work of seven playwrights who have helped
influence American theatre. The women represented in this year's festival are: France-Luce
Benson, Stephanie Berry, Dhana-Marie Branton, Charlotte A. Gibson, Nancy Giles, T. Tara Turk
and Shay Youngblood.
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSE
written by David Mamet, starring Charles Durning opens at
the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ on
Born in Highland Falls, New York, Durning, 76, made his way to Broadway to star in a number
of successful productions including The Andersonville Trial and That Championship
He was last seen on Broadway in Gin Game.
In this revival Durning plays
Levine, the aging salesman battling for his job in a run down real estate office. Co-stars are
Daniel Benzali and Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Scott Zigler directs.
ANNA MARIE ALBERGHETTI
starring in The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies through March 26, Palm Springs, CA. She is billed
simply as "Italian Singer." True, but an understatement.
The singer actress was in the original 1961 Broadway cast of Carnival. That production
also included Bob Merrill, Kaye Ballard, Jerry Orbach, Mel Torme, Richard Chamberlain and
The performer starred in Gian Carlo Menottes' The Medium and in
1958 Aladdin:The Dupont Show of the Month was turned into a soundtrack album. In
addition to Alberghetti, that recording featured Cyril Ritchard, Sal Mineo, and Basil
MICHAEL GOULET son of
Robert Goulet and ex-wife Carol Lawrence, is following in the footsteps of his famous parents
The young Goulet is starring as Billy Bigelow in Carousel at Performance Riverside,
Riverside, CA. thru February 27.
THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL
Bluffs Run Casino, Council Bluffs, Iowa February 13-14. A sweetheart of a price - free.
THE POINTER SISTERS
Harveys Casino Hotel, Council Bluffs, Iowa, February 18. $22.50.
THE BACKSTREET BOYS
Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY February 14-15. $37.50 to $45.
MAUREEN MCGOVERN LA
Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada, CA on February 18-29.
LUCIE ARNAZ and STEVE MARCH TORME at Feinstein's at the Regency, NYC February 15-26.
THIS AND THAT
MATT DAMON was in Las
Vegas to root for his brother, Kyle, who is training for the Boston Marathon.
MATT DAMON is his brother's head
Matt watched as Kyle ran in the 34th annual Las Vegas Marathon finishing at 3:06:23, breaking
his own personal record of 3:15 and qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which demands a 3:10.
Kyle is a Boston sculptor. Matt was jumping up and down for joy when his brother qualified
saying, "This is a huge day for our family. We took him out to dinner the night before the race and
loaded him with the carbos. We'll all be at the Boston Marathon to cheer him on."
BOSTON radio listeners tuned to
Theater Talk on WGBH, Friday, Feb. 18 at 12:30 a.m. can hear playwright Donald Marguiles
discussing his twenty-year writing career in the theater, including his hit play Dinner With
FRANK SINATRA CELEBRITY GOLF TOURNAMENT
February 16-19 is the golf tournament, founded by the late singer,
where celebrities spend as much time playing to the crowd as they do playing golf. The event is
known for the easy access autograph-seekers have to the celebrity players, who in the past have
included; Joe Mantegna, Steve Yeager, Yogi Berra, Kathleen Sullivan, Monty Hall, Pat Boone,
Mike Conners, Dennis Franz, Bruce Weitz, Susan Anton, Bruce Jenner, Mac Davis, Chad
Everett, and Dick Butkus.
Mention BROADWAY TO VEGAS for Special Consideration
Call (800) 942-9027
Next Column: February 20, 2000
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