Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: February 17, 2008
By: Laura Deni


Producing Director Steve Stettler
People are beating a path to Weston, Vermont. Okay, so it is off the beaten path. However, once a person discovers the Weston Playhouse, Vermont's Oldest Professional Theater - they become addicted.

Weston Producing Director Steve Stettler hopes there is no program to break that addiction.

He spoke with Broadway To Vegas about the theater that will one day probably win the regional Tony Award.

"I and my two fellow producing directors started here as college actors 30 some years ago," he recalled. "We kind of grew up with the company and believed that it could be more than it had been."

What it has been was a creation of The Great Depression. In 1935, while Franklin D. Roosevelt was coping with those economic problems, Weston-born architect Raymond Austin was putting the finishing touches on a playhouse that one New York critic would later call "the most beautiful theatre in New England."

Weston Playhouse
The first Weston Playhouse, a converted Congregational church featured a magnificent Greek Revival facade. The playhouse received some help from Mr. Roosevelt via his WPA Federal Artists Program which sponsored then resident painter Roy Williams in his creation of four great theatrical murals for the Playhouse walls. The beauty of the town and its theatre building soon convinced Boston Conservatory teacher Harlan Grant that Weston would be an ideal place to assemble a professional summer stock company.

In 1937, the first professional summer season began, opening with Noel Coward's Hay Fever featuring a young actor named Lloyd Bridges.

Then things got too hot to handle.

During the early morning hours of July 12, 1962, an overheated glue pot in the scene shop caused a devastating fire which engulfed the Playhouse and the building next door, destroying props, settings, costumes, and lights. In true show business fashion, however, that evening's scheduled performance of Write Me A Murder went on in a tent on the schoolhouse grounds, and, while the season continued, the plans for rebuilding began. The restored Weston Playhouse opened the 1963 summer season with The Fantasticks.

In 1972, Walter Boughton, Chairman of Amherst College's Drama Department, became only the second director of the Playhouse company. He promptly expanded the Playhouse repertory to feature musical theatre more prominently, and he instituted the popular after-hours revue, the Act IV Cabaret. Boughton also had to contend with his share of natural disasters. In June of 1973, and again in August of 1976, the West River overflowed its banks, running through the lower levels of the Playhouse - and wiping out much of the theatre's stock. Still the show went on as before, and by the 1980's, the Weston Playhouse, now with a restaurant and cabaret to complement its mainstage productions, had become one of New England's most successful summer stock operations.

With Walter Boughton's untimely death in 1988, three of his long-time directors, Malcolm Ewen, Tim Fort, and Steve Stettler, pooled their collective forty-plus years of Playhouse experience to become a management triumvirate. Concerned at the mounting cost of running a high quality professional operation which now included talent from Broadway and Hollywood, the producing directors turned the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company into a not-for-profit organization for the first time in 1989.

Stettler feels that being off the beaten track is a plus.

"I honestly think it is a benefit," he insisted. "The only trick for the Weston Playhouse - for either artists or audiences - is to get them here the first time. In that sense it is probably a challenge. But, increasingly when people get here and discover the beauty of the town, the beauty of the theater the quality of the work the nurturing sense of the company and the community we can't get rid of them!"

"The Broadway Boys did their first appearance out of New York here last year and had such a good time that we have already signed them to come back over Labor Day week-end this year."

Last month Weston Playhouse held their first writer's retreat.

"That included the off-Broadway musical title of show, which is slated to move to Broadway this spring - hopefully. They may be coming back to spend another week to work because they had such a good time," added Stettler who was a double major in English and Drama at Paul Newman's alma mater, Kenyon College in Ohio. Stettler then picked up a MFA in Directing from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and through Vermont's Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English with a summer spent at their Oxford, England campus, obtaining a Masters of Letters in Theater with a specialty in Shakespeare.

For those who are curious about the unusual name of Bread Loaf, since it has noting to do with the culinary arts - the school sits in view of Bread Loaf Mountain in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The original mountain and forest area in which the School of English is located was willed to Middlebury College in 1915 by Joseph Battell, breeder of Morgan horses, proprietor of the local newspaper, and spirited lover of nature.

Stettler is a spirited lover of his work and was astonished when asked what he does in his free time.

"You mean there is a possibility of free time?" was his droll reply. "This is more than a full time job."

Attention is totally focused on the future.

"Essentially, two years ago we sat down and created a five-year plan to dedicate our theater to the responsible development of new work. It was really the cap stone of all of the things that we have been trying to do in the years that we have been running the theater," he explained.

"It coincided with our being able to purchase a 5-acre farm here that we are in the process of raising the money to turn into a permanent second stage and a theater campus, that will provide a year round center to develop new plays and musicals. And, a place for our growing education programs. We're getting into a student playwriting program within the next few years. We'll be able to use that location for that as well."

"The regional theater world is about what can a theater, in a location other than New York or LA, do that theaters in those other centers can't. How can it better serve it's own community and how can it use the strengths and gifts of its particular unique community to serve the field? The first thing we had to do was to take what had been a typical, although flourishing summer stock theater - much more for tourists than locals - and rededicate it to its community and to built up schools and adult education programs to surround the work."

"Now we feel that we have the infrastructure and the head of steam and now want to make a contribution to new work."

Nothing comes cheap and few theaters find money thrown at their feet.

"We get our funding from the same place that largely everybody else does - from individuals. But, we do receive funding from the NEA, the Vermont State Arts Council. There isn't a lot in the way of corporate and foundation money in Vermont, but we do get supported by statewide corporations and foundations and we are beginning to break into more national funding."

"I think our average ticket prices is somewhere in the mid-thirty dollar range" he added.

Stettler thinks the house size of 300 seats is perfect.

"It's great because we have always been interested in keeping the human element, even in large musicals. We were just talking with people who said they saw Hairspray in New York, which they had seen when we did it at Weston last summer. They said they liked it so much more at Weston. I said - I think it's the human element. You really get caught up in the character's story. You are not overwhelmed. We have plenty of good scenery and all the rest, but we really make sure that there are living, breathing persons that you care about at the center of it."

"I love winter and you have to if you are going to live in Vermont. Travel is too difficult and mountainous rural terrain to think that you are going to fill a 300-seat house in the winter months."

That doesn't mean the cold season gets a pass.

"Winter months - the time for the new works programs. Part of the idea there is that people go to the country to retreat - to do their best work - freed from the burdens of the city. We believe that is something we can spin into - some responsible programs which includes the week-long retreat that we just did," he said of the January 20-27 event.

"We brought up seven artists, put them in two of the houses that we own, gave them private spaces to work in, fed them well and basically left them alone unless they needed something - so they could be pampered for a week and get their work done."

The 2008 retreat participants included; Obie-winning author/composer Polly Pen, Aaron Jafferis and Ian Williams, writer and composer of the hip-hop/rock musical, Kingdom; and creator/performers Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, director/choreographer Michael Berresse and arranger/music director Larry Pressgrove of the triple Obie-winning musical, title of show.

Marissa Perry (center) as Tracy with the cast of Hairspray.
"Our lead from Hairspray last summer, Marissa Perry, went to New York and right away got cast as the stand by and then got elevated to the lead above the title," he proudly declared.

"If we aren't already bringing people here who have got significant careers, pretty soon after they leave here they will have one. We have very strong people and we do really good work," he insisted.

"We do a diverse and challenging season. The whole point of that is to provide our resident audience with a full diet of theater, because many of them won't get professional, live theater anywhere else. That ranges from the local dairy farmer who has never seen a play anywhere but the Playhouse in his life to the retired local executive who used to go to every opening in New York and London. We've got to be able to serve them both."

Tony Award winning composer Adam Guettel at the Weston Playhouse
"This summer we are doing the New England premiere of the Tony-winning musical The Light in the Piazza. Adam Guettel is actually going to be orchestrating a new score. We are going to be doing it with eight actors and five instruments so it's a whole new show. We are very excited to be doing that."

"He is so talented and a great friend," said Stettler about Guettel. "It's great to be working with him. He lives up here. He has property in Vermont. We did his musical Floyd Collins. In fact, he was writing Light in the Piazza at the time. He discovered we were doing Floyd Collins and we discovered that he lived not far away. So, he came over and got involved with that and the relationship has grown from there."

"We have a director coming from Los Angeles to do Shakespeare's As You Like It. He's Brendon Fox who has most recently worked with LA Theaterworks. Before that he was the associate to Jack O'Brien at The Old Globe. He'll be doing As You Like It.

"Vermont is a beautiful area and increasingly people are finding out that it's not just beautiful but there is thriving arts and culture here, too."

"The big thing, honestly, we have started advertising ourselves as a world class theater in the heart of Vermont, because we have really reached that level now."


A year ago on February 8, 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to build a major new facility on Fifth Avenue for the Museum for African Art, the only independent museum in the United States dedicated solely to African art creating a "cultural gateway" to Harlem, with promises of generating substantial economic activity for the area.

The City committed $12 million toward the construction of the Museum, which is being designed by the renowned firm of Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Robert C. Lieber, Executive Director of the Museum for African Art Elsie McCabe, Co-Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees and President of The Rockefeller Brothers Investment Fund Jon Green, and Guggenheim Chairman William Mack also attended the announcement at the Guggenheim Museum.

"I can’t think of a better time to have this announcement than now – at the beginning of Black History Month," said Mayor Bloomberg. "For more than 20 years the Museum for African Art has developed enriching educational programs and exhibitions throughout the City, providing a window into African art and culture which has a profound impact on New York City. Now at last, the Museum will have an extraordinary new venue on Museum Mile that will allow it to vastly expand its reach and service to New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. This stunning new facility will also serve as a new cultural gateway to Harlem."

On September 24, 2007 the Museum for African Art and their development partner Brickman, a real estate private equity firm, broke ground on their mixed use project to include a permanent home for the Museum for African Art and a residential tower above.

Located at 1280 Fifth Avenue this will be the first new museum building built on New York's Museum Mile since the completion of The Guggenheim in 1959, the Museum for African Art's new building will encompass approximately 80,000 gross square feet with 16,000 square feet of exhibition space, dramatic event space, theatre, education center, library, classrooms, restaurant and gift shop.

The centerpiece of the Museum’s education center will recreate African villages that will virtually transport children across the sea to a continent, a culture and history they may not have the opportunity to experience first hand.

For 22 years, The Museum for African Art has been dedicated to presenting cutting edge exhibitions and scholarship designed to both foster the appreciation and understanding of African art and highlight its dynamic impact on global culture. From spectacular ancient masterpieces to new works by the most challenging and innovative contemporary artists, the Museum for African Art has a global reputation for consistently presenting the best of art from both Africa and the Diaspora. The Museum is committed to sharing its passion for the arts with the communities it serves through touring its exhibitions around the world, supporting a wide variety of educational initiatives, and advancing scholarship in related fields. The Museum for African Art is one of the world’s pre-eminent arts institutions, and its decision to make its permanent home on Museum Mile will help make New York City the nexus of scholarship in the field of African Art.

Completion date is slated for late 2009. Until then The Museum for African Art has temporary offices in Long Island City, Queens. Exhibits are organized at various off-site venues in Manhattan and in other cities around the country during construction.

African Sculpture from the New Orleans Museum of Art
A collaboration between the Museum for African Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art, Resonance from the Past: African Sculpture from the New Orleans Museum of Art consists of approximately 100 works of art including masks, figures, musical instruments, ceramics, and fabric and beadwork costumes chosen from the extensive collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

New Orleans, considered the most African of American cities, is famous for music, food, jazz, Mardi Gras, and the voudou religion. The New Orleans Museum of Art decided to actively collect works of art from sub-Saharan Africa more than forty years ago. This exhibition presents works from west and central Africa, selected by Frank Herreman, formerly Deputy Director of Exhibitions at the Museum for African Art and William Fagaly, Curator of African Art, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. It includes important groups of sculpture from the Dogon and Bamana peoples of Mali; a selection works from the Baule, Dan, Wè, and Bete people of Ivory Coast. The New Orleans Museum has an outstanding collection of Yoruba art used in ceremonies of the Ogboni, Gelede, Ifa, and Epa cults. Two of the most famous Nigerian sculptors of the early twentieth century—Areogun of Osi-Ilorin and Olowe of Ise—are represented. A sculpted house post by Olowe and an intricate figurative bowl and tray by Areogun suggest how individual genius modifies what is often taken to be traditional African style. Other works from Nigeria come from the kingdom of Benin and from the Igbo and Ijo peoples.

The art of equatorial Africa is represented by a royal mask and figure from the Cameroon Grasslands, three major Fang reliquary figures from Gabon, and a female mourning mask of the Punu/Lumbo. Works from the Congo basin include ancestor and power figures, in wood and ivory, from the Bembe, Teke, and Yombe. The exhibition concludes dramatically with figures from the Chokwe, Luba, and Tabwa peoples of Angola.

The traveling exhibit can be enjoyed at the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University Park in Penn opening February 19 with a showing through May 11.

For a donation of twenty dollars we encourage your opinions regarding topics of interest or what you feel we may have spent too much time covering.

We will also send you a perfectly acceptable Broadway To Vegas mousepad and a really nifty thank you note.

Please allow two weeks for delivery of your mousepad and thank you note. For that you will need to provide a name and mailing address. All information is kept confidential. We accept PAYPAL.
Thank you for your interest.


LIFE IS A CABARET: A TRIBUTE TO FRED EBB Cabaret, Zorba, Chicago, Woman of the Year, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Curtains—Fred Ebb's four-decade collaboration with composer John Kander produced a remarkable string of unforgettable shows. Rob Fisher, the music director of the Chicago revival, explores the legacy of the lyricist whose 700 songs epitomized the wit and sophistication of Broadway.

Part of the 92nd Street Y's Lyrics and Lyricists presentation. February 23-25 at Kaufmann Hall, NYC.

FROM MAO TO MOZART: ISAAC STERN IN CHINA WITH AN INTERVIEW WITH CELLIST JIAN WANG First a screening of the Academy Award-winning 1979 documentary From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China that features cellist Jian Wang when he was 10 years old and a student at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Following the film, Wang talks about growing up in China, meeting Isaac Stern, and becoming a world-class musician.

A free program presented Saturday February 23, Ripley Center, Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

THE LYRICIST'S VOICE: PAUL SIMON a 12-time Grammy Award-winner, appears in conversation to discuss the art of lyric-writing. Simon’s versatile oeuvre ranges from folk to rock to reggae to calypso. He will be interviewed by Billy Collins, a former U.S. poet laureate.

Wednesday, February 20, Kaufmann Concert Hall in NYC.

IDINA MENZEL IN CONVERSATION Menzel won the Tony Award for Best Actress for her role as Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the hit musical Wicked. She is also known for originating the role of Maureen Johnson in Rent, a part she reprised for the film version. Her new Warner Bros. Records debut album, I Stand, was just released last month. The songs – all written by Menzel - are mostly pop tunes and heartfelt ballads that tell universal stories of personal challenges and human relationships.

On February 26 Menzel will talk at the 92nd Street Y in NYC about her career as an actress/singer/ songwriter with producer Glen Ballard, who is best known for producing Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill.


COSTUMES AND WIGS - millions of costumes and 10,000 hairpieces - a half century's worth used in the BBC's most celebrated dramas and comedies, ranging from Pride and Prejudice to Blackadder are in a state of undress after a bid by Superhire Group to buy the corporation's costumes and wigs department dropped a stitch and fell through.

Billed as the second largest of its kind in the UK, after the leading supplier, Angels The Costumiers, the BBC costumes have been used in such leading productions as Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and the film Cold Mountain.

A spokeswoman for the BBC confirmed that the department ceased trading last Thursday and said: "BBC Resources had intended to sell the collection as quickly as possible and to make it available over the transfer period in order to cause as little disruption to its customers as possible."

BBC Resources is actively looking for other buyers. Until that happens no future rental orders are being accepted although "all outstanding commitments will be honored up to and beyond the closure."

Vivienne Benesch as Barbara Undershaft and Ted van Griethuysen as Andrew Undershaft. Photo by Scott Suchman
by George Bernard Shaw. Directed by Ethan McSweeny.

Starring Vivienne Benesch as Barbara Undershaft, Ted van Griethuysen as Andrew Undershaft, Helen Carey as Lady Britomart, Floyd King as Peter Shirley, Andrew Long as Bill Walker and Tom Story as Stephen Undershaft. The Major Barbara cast also includes Leah Curney, Tiffany Fillmore, Catherine Flye, Jennifer Mendenhall, Kevin O’Donnell, James Ricks.

Full of Shaw’s signature shrewd, urbane wit, Major Barbara, depicts timeless tensions between wealth and charity, government and religion, business and family.

At the center of the play is the rebellious but naively idealistic Barbara Undershaft. A major with the Salvation Army, Barbara finds the foundation of her beliefs rocked when the charity accepts a donation from her long-estranged father, a millionaire arms dealer.

Andrew Undershaft has been estranged from his family on account of his business for the past 20 years. Daughters Barbara and Sarah are now engaged, and their mother, Lady Britomart, invites Andrew to the family’s home in hopes of securing their dowries. Barbara, who serves as a Major in the Salvation Army, is especially horrified by her father’s amoral attitude toward his dangerous work, but she promises to visit his arms factory so long as he visits her shelter. Watching Barbara in action, Undershaft determines that she would be a great asset to his business, but her fiancé Adolphus Cusins asserts that Barbara would never turn her back on morality for money.

When Barbara learns that the Salvation Army has accepted donations from a wealthy patron who owns a whisky distillery, she quits, disheartened that the organization would accept tainted money. Later, the Undershaft family visits Andrew’s weapons plant and is surprised by both the cleanliness of the town and the happiness of the workers. Lady Britomart suggests that she and Barbara should run the town and that Cusins should inherit the business. Barbara watches in shock as her fiancé accepts this offer, but Cusins reassures her that he will bring virtue and ethics to the business. With the realization that no good thing can remain wholly untainted, Barbara resolves to marry Cusins and bring her high standards to the family business.

Often called Shaw’s greatest play, Major Barbara offers a provocative discourse on poverty, faith and justice, while entertaining us with vivid characters, intriguing plot twists and a hefty dose of pure fun.

Set design by James Noone. Costume Design by Robert Perdziola. The Major Barbara design team also includes Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel, Composer David Madox, and Voice and Text Coach Ellen O’Brien.

Previews began February 19 with performances through March 23. Presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company at Sidney Harman Hall, Washington, DC.

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY PART 1 & 2 by Charles Dickens. A Chichester Festival Production.

This comic masterpiece is presented across two separate plays - each complete in itself - creating an unforgettable experience.

Goodness and virtue battle cruelty and avarice and emerge triumphant in this funny, moving, exhilarating saga of Victorian England.

You'll meet such characters as only Charles Dickens could create: Nicholas, defiant of those who wrong the people he loves; wicked Uncle Ralph, who cares for nothing but money; Wackford Squeers, the cruel master of Dotheboys Hall, the poor, abused Smike ... and 146 more whom you will never forget.

February 22 - April 20 at The Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, Ontario

THE SEAGULL by Anton Chekhov. Translated by Paul Schmidt. Directed by Viacheslay Dolgachev.

Beloved Academy Award-winning actress Dianne Wiest portrays Arkadina, perhaps one of the Russian master's most vivid creations in a play which is now acknowledged as his first undisputed masterpiece. Joining her is Broadway phenomenon and Tony Award-winner Alan Cumming.

The Seagull subtly dissects the affairs of the heart and the demands of a life in the arts, effortlessly balancing the comic, the lyric and the tragic in a fashion that has become the hallmark of Chekhov's enduring art. Feb. 20 - Mar. 30 at the Classic Stage Company in New York City.

a World Premiere Created and performed by Pierre Rigal.

Pierre Rigal is renowned for his physical prowess as performer, agile inventiveness as choreographer and brilliant use of live mixed sound. In Press. Rigal sets himself a Houdini-esque choreographic challenge which makes even the Gate look spacious. Pierre has toured all over the world but this is his first British commission and continuous London run.

Design & Lighting Frédéric Stoll. Composer Nihil Bordures. Assistant Choreographer Mélanie Chartreux.

Presented by The Gate Theatre, Compagnie dernière minute, Théâtre Garonne - Toulouse and Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis. Opened February 15 with performances through March 8 at The Gate in London, England.

INCORRUPTIBLE A fast paced farce by Michael Hollinger takes an uproarious look at monks in a 12th century French monastery who hatch an outrageous plan to keep up with their competitors - in the marketing of holy relics.

The comedy is actually based on historical events

This new comedy, featuring Steve Shaffer and Tom Stolz, offers a gentle rib-poking look at how we humans twist our convictions to rationalize our bad behavior.

February 22 - June 7 at The Old Log Theatre in Excelsior MN.

RESTING PLACE by Richard Broadhurst. As All Hallows' Eve looms over them, a confused mother and a graveyard caretaker find they have more in common than they thought in a plot fraught with guilt, forgiveness and intrigue. A world premiere February 20- March 16 at the Sacramento Theatre Company in Sacramento, CA.

THE PARIS LETTER Jon Robin Baitz's modern tragedy about power and money - and the ruinous effects they can have on friendship, love, marriage, and ultimately oneself.

Peter Levin directs Ron Rifkin, John Glover, Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Radnor and Patricia Wettig who reprise their roles. Wall Street powerhouse Sandy Sonenberg finds his personal and professional life threatened by the unraveling secrets of his past. After burying his true sexual identity, a lethal affair with a young male associate forces Sonenberg to confront a lifetime of unrequited love and betrayal.

Ron Rifkin, Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Radnor and Patricia Wettig originated their roles in the world premiere production at the Mark Taper Forum's Kirk Douglas Theater in 2004. John Glover appeared in the subsequent Off-Broadway production, presented by The Roundabout Theater Company, along with Rifkin.

All performances are recorded to air on LATW's nationally-syndicated radio theater series, The Play's The Thing, which broadcasts weekly on public and satellite radio.

Opens on Wednesday, February 20 with shows through Sunday, February 24 at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA.

ST. GEORGE'S DAY GALA England is celebrating it's National Day with world famous and rousing classics played at England's Royal Albert Hall. Featuring Claire Moore soprano. Anthony Inglis conducting the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

Presented by TV star Robert Powell. Selections include; Walton's Crown Imperial, Grainger's Country Garden, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves, Jupiter from The Planets one of a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Holst. Nimrod from Enigma Variations by Elgar. Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah, and Handel compositions Zadok the Priest and See the Conquering Hero Comes. from Judas Maccabaeus.

There will also be a host of English classics including; Jerusalem, Rule, Britannia!, We'll Meet Again, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Colonel Bogey March, The Dam Busters March and Land of Hope and Glory.

Plus St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V and poems by Wordsworth and Betjeman.

Royal Albert Hall in London on Wednesday, April 23.

THE IMAGINARY INVALID by Molière Adapted by Constance Congdon. Directed by David Schweizer.

Molière's zany satire on the world of medicine - the questionable cures and the costs - is a swirl of romantic triangles, double entendres and mistaken identities. To quell his growing pile of medical bills, Monsieur Argan, a chronic hypochondriac, will go to any length to marry his daughter off to a doctor. Of course, his daughter has other ideas. Constance Congdon gives this Molière classic is a full dose of her own brand of pure hilarity.

The production features Ian Bell, Julie Briskman, Bradford Farwell, David Pichette, Alice Playten, Rocco Sisto, Andrew William Smith, Zoe Winters and Brandon Whitehead.

February 21 – March 22, at Seattle Rep Theatre in Seattle, WA.

Photo by Steven Miller
Text/lyrics by Margaret Shafer; music by Hope Wechkin, best known to Seattle audiences for innovative and virtuosic pairings of the voice and violin. A well-known interpreter of contemporary vocal literature, she has premiered many works by Northwest composers and is the soprano soloist with Affinity. She is also a graduate of Yale University and the University of Washington School of Medicine.

A one-woman show performed by Hope Wechkin.

Directed by Cathy Madden, Assistant Professor of Drama for the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program and Director of the Alexander Technique Training and Performance Studio.

Charisma is a comedy laced with a few serious bits about a hospital patient who faces down a stream of visitors bearing dour advice, dire predictions, and drastic schemes for healing. A crystal healer, a diet-obsessed aunt, a Brazilian tapir, and a doctor in love with his own charm are a few of the characters who people this one-woman show. This one woman music and theatre piece with a score influenced by Balkan and classical music, includes simultaneously singing and playing the violin.

Jenny McArthur serves as Stage Manager. Erika Stoll is the Lighting Designer and Sharon Shaver is the Costume Designer.

Sponsored by the University of Washington School of Medicine Palliative Care Program and the Washington Composers Forum which is a non-profit arts organization that nurtures the creation, performance, and dissemination of contemporary music.. Performances February 22, 23, 29 and March 1 at ACT - A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, WA.


SPIRIT OF UGANDA (CONCERT) performers, ages 8 – 18 bring to life the sounds and music of East Africa. The African troupe sings in Luganda, Swahili and English and will play a variety of drums, harps, flutes and xylophones and perform dances from a number of countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Tanzania and Kenya. This exuberant and powerful program give audiences an intriguing experience in the stories, history, legends and beliefs peoples of East Africa. Friday, February 22 at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN.

AMANDA MCBROOM AND MELISSA MANCHESTER - IN THEIR OWN WORDS For the first time ever, two of our generation's most talented singer/songwriters Amanda McBroom (The Rose) and Melissa Manchester (Don't Cry Out Loud, Midnight Blue, Whenever I Call you Friend) team up to perform their original songs, and those of the songwriters who influenced them. Saturday, February 23, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco.

ALANIS MORISSETTE brings her tour to the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT. on Monday, February 18. On Tuesday she is in the spotlight at the Sovereign Center in Reading, PA. Thursday finds her at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY. On Friday she in on stage at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON.

CELTIC WOMAN on stage Tuesday, February 19, at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX. ON Wednesday the show is at the Mabee Center in Tulsa. Friday they are on stage at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham, AL. On Saturday they will be entertaining at the Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, FA. Next Sunday, February 24, the performance is at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, GA.

BARRY MANILOW performs Tuesday, February 19, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. On Saturday he's on stage at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL. Next Sunday, February 24, he's in the spotlight at the American Airlines Arena in Miami.

THE SPICE GIRLS entertain Monday, February 18, at Madison Square Garden in NYC. On Tuesday the show is at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. Thursday they are on stage at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

VIENNA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Valery Gergiev conductor with Yefim Bronfman on piano. February 23 at the Barbican in London.

BURT BACHARACH continues his tour of Japan with performances February 20 at the Green Hall in Sagami Ohno. On February 22 he can be enjoyed at the Festival Hall in Osaka.

LINDA EDER performing with the acclaimed Chicagoland Pops Orchestra at The Rosemont Theatre on Saturday, February 23 in Chicago, IL.


The earliest known theatrical venue was located in the Minoan Palace at Phaistos in Crete. Phaistos was the second largest palatial building on the island, excavated by the Italian school shortly after Knossos. It was inhabited from about 4000 BC. A palace, dating from the Middle Bronze Age, was destroyed by an earthquake during the Late Bronza Age, Knossos along with other Minoan sites was destroyed at that time. The palace was rebuilt toward the end of the Late Bronze Age.

The Greek Theater was a central place of formal gatherings in ancient greece. Not only did the structure serve as the stage for Tragedies and Comedies, but it also provided a forum for poetry and musical events.

Next Column: February 24, 2008
Copyright: February 17, 2008. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.
Link to Main Page

Laura Deni