Broadway To Vegas


Copyright: February 3, 2002
By: Laura Deni


7th Heaven says Shalom to Richard Lewis
Comedian Richard Lewis will tackle the role of a rabbi on 7th Heaven, the top rated Warners Brothers family sitcom, which manages to be both significant and entertaining.

The comedian who admits to being neurotic - since 1971 he's been a psychiatric couch potato - will have a recurring role. Adding a rabbi to the mix that spotlights a Christian clergyman will add a certain edge and depth to a program that offers some of the best on television.

Laraine Newman plays the rabbi's wife
Former Saturday Night Live star Laraine Newman will play the rabbi's wife.

Lewis and Newman begin appearing Feb. 18.

Comedian Lewis, 50, who is Jewish, said that 7th Heaven contacted him. Lewis deems himself perfect for the part. "I am Jewish and neurotic. Every rabbi doesn't have to be neurotic, but I believe most rabbis should be Jewish."

Lewis graduated from Ohio State University with a marketing degree in 1969. He first job was as a New Jersey copywriter, where he injected jokes into the ads. He's been a stand up comic since 1971.

7th Heaven from Spelling Television and Brenda Hampton is a critically acclaimed family drama about a minister and his wife in the fictional suburban town of Glen Oak, California.

Jessica Biel
The show addresses realistic problems in a sensible yet non preachy way, permitting the audience to enjoy the program - while getting a grip on realistic problem solving. The creators have managed to circumvent suspicion that they have hidden moral, religious or political objectives that are subliminally foisted off onto the viewing audience under the guise of entertainment.

The Episode of Suspicion
Now in its sixth season, 7th Heaven is the WB's highest-rated series for the past four seasons.

The series stars Emmy Award-nominated Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Barry Watson, Jessica Biel, Beverly Mitchell, David Gallagher, Mackenzie Rosman, Adam LaVorgna and Happy the Dog.

The show takes on both sensitive and important topics.

Recently the episode of Suspicion spotlighted the issue of suspicion towards anyone of the Muslim faith.

To help parents and educators use Suspicion to discuss discrimination in light of September 11, as well as in a broader context, WB is offering to provide support materials.

The next episode of 7th Heaven confronts teenage party drinking as an effort to fit in.


Jesse Venture is wrestling with the music and book for a planned Broadway musical about his life, while Billy Joel is holding auditions for his Great White Way effort.

Jesse Ventura
Prior to his political days Jesse Ventura was a Navy seal who visited a Nevada brothel that has a room named in his honor. He co-starred in Hollywood action movies and has written two books. He was elected Minnesota governor in 1998 election.

Ventura is taking an active role in The Body Ventura which is being created by librettist and lyricist Stephen Dolginoff.

Some of the toe tappers are Hooyah referring to Ventura's stint as a Navy Seal. Take the World by Storm speaks to Ventura's early ambitions.

Billy Joel
Also coming to a Broadway theater is a Billy Joel inspiration.

Movin' Out has been a longer term collaboration between Joel and choreographer Twyla Tharp. The effort had a number of working titles including the workshopped The Thoel Project - Thoel being a combination of Tharp and Joel. The new moniker is from the Joel hit

Joel has long had his eye on the theatre. Years ago he started writing serious music claiming he was tired of writing for Billy Joel. Currently on tour with Elton John the singer composer has been quite vocal about his ambitions. He's just as opinionated about his love of New Jersey and his mixed bag feelings towards Las Vegas. "I used to see the lounge acts starting to play in the casinos at 6 a.m. and say to myself, Thank you, God, that I don't have to do that.'"

His Broadway effort will have an out-of-town tryout in Chicago at the Shubert Theatre June 24- Aug 4. before opening on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Oct. 24.

This effort is on the road serious. Auditions for ballet trained dancers starting last Friday in Toronto with rehearsals beginning April 29.

The storyline concerns six friends who grow up in the 1960s and go on to fight in Vietnam. One is killed in the war and another comes to blame the third for the man's death. The show will incorporate existing Joel songs as well some new material the songwriter will pen for the show. The show will feature 26 Joel compositions including Innocent Man, Big Shot, River of Dreams and Movin' Out.
Designers are Santo Loquasto (sets), Ann Roth (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Brian Ruggles and Peter Fitzgerald (sound). Stuart Malina ( music director).


Ossie Davis
Ossie Davis' most critically acclaimed dramatic work, Purlie Victorious will have the author in the audience when a group of theatrical novices take the stage to perform the acclaimed work.
The actor/director/author is returning to Waycross, Georgia to attend a stage performance of Purlie Victorious a play Davis, 84, wrote and directed in 1961 about the civil rights movement in south Georgia.

The Waycross Depot
The Waycross Area Community Theater's performance on Feb. 14, will be followed by Davis attending a reception at the Waycross Rail Depot downtown.

The Waycross Area Community Theater (WACT) will perform at the Ritz Theater upon completion of renovations in progress.The City Auditorium on Pendleton Street is where Elvis Presley performed in the 1950's. The Waycross Rail depot constructed under direction of Henry Plant in the heyday of train travel through Waycross by means of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was renovated in the 1990's. It is now home of the Waycross-Ware Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Waycross Development Authority.

Purlie Victorious, which is Davis' most critically acclaimed dramatic work, is dedicated to his father, Kince Davis, and to his father's longtime friend, Ananias Fluker, who was active in the civil rights movement and the Waycross business community.

Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis in the film version of the Broadway play I'm Not Rappaport
"Nothing I had learned from the Baptist Bible, from Howard University, from my long association with Causes, black and white, or my fifteen years on Broadway, prepared me in any degree for what I was to learn from Purlie Victorious - as actor, as author, and as - what I hope someday to be soon- a man! According to Davis, Purlie Victorious is a satire about adventures of African-American "manhood" in a world created for European Americans only.

Purlie Victorious will also have a New York reading at Westside Arts featuring George Grizzard. Davis will be directing. The feelers are out to test the feasibility of mounting a New York production.

Davis was born on December 18, 1917, in Cogdell, Georgia. He attended Howard University from 1935 to 1939. Against the advice of Dr. Alain Locke, his mentor, Davis dropped out of school to become an actor with the Rose McClendon Players in Harlem. On December 9, 1948, he married a fellow actress, Ruby Dee. ( See Broadway To Vegas column of April 29, 2001 )

Barbara Griffin will direct the Waycross performance of Purlie Victorious her first time as a director. She's not the only one in a new role; only one of the five actors has any experience acting in a play.

Broadway To Vegas is supported through advertising and donations. Priority consideration is given to interview suggestions, news, press releases, etc from paid supporters. However, no paid supporters control, alter, edit, or in any way manipulate the content of this site. Your donation is appreciated. We accept PAYPAL.
Thank you for your interest.


Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis has been teaching for fifteen years. From February 4-7 she will bring her expertise to Florida State University's School of Theater.
Olympia Dukakis
Dukakis, 70, will visit the school as its Hoffman Eminent Scholar, teaching acting and directing to undergraduate and graduate students.

Her visit "is another indication of the close and critical connection between FSU's theater program and the professional world," interim dean Nancy Smith Fichter announced.

During a career that spans over 35 years, Olympia Dukakis has worked as an actress, director, producer, teacher, and activist.

She received an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actress category, the New York Film Critics Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Award, and the Golden Globe Award for her work in the Norman Jewison film Moonstruck.

Her heart though, has long been in the theatre. Dukakis has received two OBIE Awards for Bertolt Brecht's A Man's A Man and Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre.

Dukakis made her London debut in 1999 on stage at the Royal National Theatre in Martin Sherman's one-woman play Rose when she opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre in the spring of 2000.

Prior to Rose, Dukakis was last seen on Broadway in Social Security directed by Mike Nichols. Her other Broadway credits include Who's Who in Hell, The Aspern Papers, Abraham Cochrane, and Night of the Iguana.

As a founding member and Producing Artistic Director of the World Theatre in Montclair, NJ for 19 years (1971-1990), she both directed and appeared in productions, winning numerous accolades. In 1992, Olympia Dukakis received the New Jersey Governor's Walt Whitman Creative Acts Award.

Dukakis has appeared in over 125 productions Off-Broadway and regionally. She taught acting in the graduate school at New York University for fifteen years, and currently teaches master classes at various universities and colleges throughout the country.


DON RICKLES age 75, is augmenting his social security by signing a two-year contract with the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City.

He'll do at least five three-night engagements at the Tropicana Showroom through 2004. His first performances are scheduled for April 12-14, then again July 12-14.

Rickles also has a contract with Boyd Gaming Corp. to perform at the Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.


Kevin Costner
is the star attraction at the first fund raiser of the ALS Association Carolina Chapter, which takes place February 2 at the Carolina Theatre.

The event will honor Major League Baseball's Jim "Catfish" Hunter, a North Carolina native who died in 1999 after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, attacks specialized nerve cells called motor neurons, which control the movement of voluntary muscles.

Costner played Crash Davis in 1988's Bull Durham, which was filmed 12 years ago in Durham, N.C.

The character was inspired by the Carolina League catcher of the same name. Davis recently died at age 82 in Gastonia.

David Canary
benefits from a performance by the cast of All My Children - Eden Riegel, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Bassey, Ruth Warrick, Jill Larson, David Canary and Marj Dusay at Arci's Place on Monday, February 4.

The Robin Hood Foundation's core mission is fighting poverty in New York City, helping poor New Yorkers build better lives for themselves and their families.

However, the organization has also raised $52.59 million for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, $33 million of which was raised through The Concert for New York City on October 20th. To date, the Fund has awarded $28.891 million. This includes $14.391 million in grants to the most effective organizations helping victims' families, the heroic uniformed officers, and the lower-income victims impacted by the economic consequences of this tragedy.

Additionally, in time for the holidays, Robin Hood gave out approximately $14.5 million in direct aid to the families of those killed or critically injured on September 11th in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the four airplanes. Robin Hood has also given direct aid to the families of those killed in the anthrax attacks.

Since the Robin Hood Relief Fund is operating separately from the Foundation no money has been diverted from helping needy New Yorkers.

SEASON OF HOPE featuring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick takes place tomorrow, Monday, when they host the fourth annual gala at Cipriani. The event benefits AmFAR, as well as B'way Cares Equity Fights AIDS. Sean Combs, Anna Wintour, Julianne Moore, Alan Cumming, Candace Bushnell are just some of the notables who'll be on hand when the legendary Barry Manilow performs.

PROJECT ANGEL FOOD at the Hollywood Improv. An Evening of Comedy at the Improv is held monthly to benefit the Project. Michael Richards headlines this month's event which takes place February 6.

is Boy George's journey from a wannabe pop star through his chart success, heroin addiction and discovery of Eastern spirituality.

The production's first preview performance on January 11 was cancelled due to technical difficulties. The glitch was fixed and Taboo opened last Tuesday at London's Leicester Square and received favorable reviews.

Boy George, 40, admitted to being nervous but said he was delighted with the way Taboo had been received.

Boy George
The production features 16 new songs as well as Boy George classics including Do You Really Want To Hurt Me and Karma Chameleon.

Set in the 1960's, the show takes on the life, times and innovators who shaped and defined the face of a decadent decade and the beginning of pop culture as we know it today. It's billed as a love story of passion, ambit unfolds alongside the journey of Boy George's rise and fall from international stardom.

Taboo stars Ewan Morton as Boy George and Matt Lucas as Leigh Bowry. The cast includes; Dianne Pilkington, Luke Evans, Paul Baker, Gemma Craven, Mark McGee, Drew Jaymson, Mark White, Gail MacKinnon, Michele Hooper, Declan Bennett, Joe Docherty, Hannah Jane Fox, Lucy Harris and Andy Morton.

Music by Boy George with book by Mark Davies-Markham. Directed by Christopher Renshaw. Choreographed by Les Childs. Lighting by Chris Ellis. Designs by Tim Goodchild. Costumes by Mike Nicholls and sound by Jem Kitchen. Hair and make-up by Christine Bateman.

INTO THE WOODS began previews at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles February lst.

Vanessa Williams stars in the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical. Judi Dentch is the voice of the Giantess.

Others in the cast include John McMartin, Laura Benanti, Gregg Edelman, Dennis Kelly, Christopher Sieber, Melissa Dye, Kerry O'Malley, Stephen DeRosa, Adam Wylie, Mary Louise Burke, Molly V. Ephraim,Trent Armand Kendall, Pamela Myers, Tracy Nicole Chapman, Amanda Naughton, Jennifer Malenke, Kate Reinders, Stephen Berger, Linda Muggleston, Chad Kimball and Adam Brazier.

Into the Woods opens at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre April 25 following previews beginning April 13.

James Lapine, the musical's original director and bookwriter, directs this production. Paul Gemignani is the musical director, with John Carrafa choreographing. The revival is produced by Dodger Theatricals.

Designing the show are Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Susan Hilferty (costumes), Douglas W. Schmidt (set) and Dan Moses Schreier (sound).

Recommended for audiences 10 years of age and up, Into the Woods Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony Award-winning fractured-fairy-tale musical is an all-new production having it's world-premiere at the Ahmanson.

The score is one of Sondheim's most popular. The Los Angeles production of the revised revival runs through March 24. Official opening night at the Ahmanson Theatre is Feb. 10.

The ASL signed performance for the deaf and audio- described for low-vision or blind patrons takes place March 9 at 2p.m. and the Pay What You Can Performance is Wednesday, February 6 at 8p.m.

THE MAN WHO HAD ALL THE LUCK starring Chris O'Donnell in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's first Broadway play, for Roundabout Theatre Company, at the American Airlines Theatre, directed by Scott Ellis.

The play was Miller's intriguing 1944 Broadway flop that came before both his breakout hit, All My Sons, and the towering Death of a Salesman. Previews begin Feb. 8, with a March 14, opening.

He'll play the title role of David in the Miller play. The Man Who Had All the Luck is described in press notes as "a charming story of the fate of a young Midwestern man whose fortune shines on him while it passes over everyone else around him. The play wrestles with the unanswerable the question of the justice of fate, how it was that one man failed and another, no more or less capable, achieved some glory in life."

Miller wrote the play in 1940. It takes place in 1938 during the end of the Depression, and as Europe was heading into war.

THE PRODUCERS will play the 4,000 seat Fox Theatre, St Louis for three weeks in December. The production will be the centerpiece of a season that will double its offering of touring Broadway productions. Starting this fall, musicals will play the Fox for at least two weeks instead of one, elevating St. Louis to the level of cities where multiple-week runs are already the norm, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

The Fox's 2002-03 schedule also includes The Lion King, The Full Monty and the Tony-winning revival of 42nd Street, are also on the schedule. The League of American Theatres and Producers ranks St Louis as its 10th biggest in theater grosses, although St. Louis is only the 22nd-largest market in the United States.

SPEAKING OF THE PRODUCERS Henry Goodman steps into the role of Max Bialystock when Nathan Lane leaves The Producers on March 17.

by actor/writer Murphy Guyer who is currently appearing on stage in the pre-Broadway tour of The Graduate with Kathleen Turner and Alicia Silverstone.

Guyer acts so he can afford to write.

He is taking off a couple of days from the acting gig to attend the opening of his play The Infinite Regress of Human Vanity, at Cleveland Play House.

Directed by: David Colacci the show is a backstage play about a backstage play. Nathan Pine, played by Cleveland Play House Artistic Associate Andrew May, is a young, hopelessly idealistic playwright who flies to the "big city" for rehearsals of his new play at a theatre very much like ours, at a new play festival very much like ours. Courtesy of some very dedicated designers, producers, directors and actors, Nathan quickly learns a great deal about the business: That theatre is crazy, the people who run it are nuts, and keeping track of reality is extremely difficult.

The Baxter Stage of The Cleveland Playhouse in Cleveland, Ohio February 5-March 3.


Eileen Fulton
of As The World Turns fame makes like the chanteuse at Arci's Place tonight.

Fulton originated the role of the colorful Lisa Miller on ATWT in 1960 At one point, Fulton worked mornings at ATWT, afternoons in matinee presentations of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway, and evenings in the Off Broadway musical The Fantasticks.

Fulton majored in music and minored in dramatics at Greensboro College in North Carolina where she established a Fine Arts scholarship in her name and her mother's. Fulton has also performed to raise money for the major renovation of the school's auditorium.

The daughter of a Methodist minister and a descendant of a long line of clergymen, Fulton was born in Asheville, North Carolina and founded a musical scholarship in her late father's name at Brevard College.

JOHNNY MATHIS performs Thursday in Houston Texas at Jones Hall. Then the crooner takes to the stage on Saturday in Savannah, Georgia in the Johnny Mercer Theatre.

ELAINE BOOSLER will be making the folks laugh Saturday at the Chandler Center in Chandler, Arizona.

ELTON JOHN AND BILLY JOEL entertain Monday at the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Conn.

BARRY MANILOW last night opened a five night stand at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

JERRY VALE has a week of one nighters. On February 5th he'll be singing in the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. The following night the place is Van Vessel Hall in Sarasota, Florida. Then on February 7 Jerry will be in the spotlight in Barbara B. Mann Hall at Ft. Meyers, Florida. Friday finds him in the Florida Atlantic University Auditorium at Boca Raton.

KENNY ROGERS is on the road. February 6 finds the entertainer in 2 Rome, GA at The Forum. On Friday he's center stage in Sarasota, FL at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Kenny closes out the week on Saturday in Daytona Beach, Florida at the Ocean Center.

THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS will be fighting over whom mother loved best Thursday and Friday at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California.

GREGORY HINES stars tonight at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, California.

ARLO GUTHRIE on Friday opens a three night stand at the Orpheum Theatre in Omaha, Nebraska.

ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK performs Saturday at the Mission Vineyard in Napier, AZ.

JERRY SEINFELD getting the yuks Friday and Saturday at the Sunrise Musical Theatre in Sunrise, Florida.

LUTHER VANDROSS in the spotlight Friday at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.

VONDA SHEPERD performs Friday in San Rafael, California at the Marin Center. Then on Saturday she is center stage at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, California, On Sunday she does the same thing in Las Vegas at the House of Blues located in Mandalay Bay Resorts. The lady doesn't eat meat, although she is featured in an ad for Hardee's Restaurant - a place she has never entered.

ANNE MURRAY on stage Tuesday in Charleston West Virginia at the Municipal Auditorium. On Wednesday the songbird is behind the microphone in Louisville, Kentucky at the Palace Theater. Friday she can be found down the road in Owensboro, Kentucky at the Sports Center. She closes out the week Saturday in Rockford, Ill at the Coronado Theatre.

ALICIA KEYS center stage Monday at the Palace Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. On Tuesday the venue is the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee, WI. On Wednesday she's in the spottight at the State Theatre in Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio. She opens a two nighter at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago on Thursday.

WILLIE NELSON has a busy week. On Thursday he's in El Cajon, CA at the E County Performing Arts Center.Friday finds him in Anaheim, CA at The Grove Of Anaheim. Nelson closes out the week Saturday in Universal City, CA at the Universal Amphitheatre. At 68, Nelson is booked to play 250 gigs this year. He has a trio of albums in the can and Random House just published his first book, The Facts of Life. And Other Dirty Jokes.

DIANE SCHUUR stars February 9th at Boulder Station in Las Vegas.


EDWARD POWELL the newly named USO President started off his new job by coming to Las Vegas to visited with the organization's celebrity chairman, Wayne Newton. Then he jetted to Los Angeles where he lunched with veteran USO trooper Connie Stevens at a function honoring John Glenn.

Next Column: February 10, 2002
Copyright: February 3, 2002. 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

U.S. Postal Address: Post Office Box 60538, Las Vegas, NV 89160