Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: January 1, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Carrie Fisher holds out her hand to be licked by her emotional support animal Gary as they posed on the red carpet of a Star Wars: The Force Awakens event in London. Gary, who lost his pet parent with the death of Carrie, will be given a good home by her daughter, Billie Lourd. Photo: press coverage
Two women died a day apart. Daughter and mother. One, possibly from the after affects of a life of mental illness and drugs. The other from heartache. See Carrie Fisher obit in Broadway To Vegas column of December 25, 2016

Carrie Fisher - followed the next day by her mother Debbie Reynolds.

In her one woman show Carrie Fisher discussed that she was included in the textbook about abnormal psychology. She suffered from bipolar disorder and drug addiction. Mother Debbie Reynolds suffered from not being able to change that situation. She worried nonstop about her daughter. When Carrie was a teen-ager Debbie confided in me that she didn't want Carrie driving a car. She felt her daughter wasn't stable enough to be behind the wheel. She call it a "danger" to have Carrie in control of an automobile when she wasn't in control of herself.

Then she asked me not to publish what she had just said. In another interview we sat for about an hour in her hotel room discussing trying to raise a "troubled" or "special needs" child. Reynolds said the closest she could come to blocking Carrie's problems out of her thoughts was when she was doing a live performance. That's one of the reasons she loved playing Las Vegas. That and the money she earned helped pay off the debts she was saddled with thanks to a husband who has been addicted to gambling.

Much is written about mental illness, coping, getting help, understanding those who suffer from malady offshoots and how to recognize signs of too much stress or a relapse.

On Monday, November 21, 2016, only about a month before her death, and days before a purported drug relapse, Carrie Fisher was a guest on Late Night with Stephen Colbert. She was there to promote her book The Princess Diarist, and was about to head to England to promote the book.

Hindsight is such perfect vision. What everyone may have missed was that Carrie exhibited numerous signs that she was in trouble.

People behind the scenes mentioned Fisher's manic behavior backstage. Guests waiting to go on a talk show don't normally act like they should be caught in a butterfly net.

Carrie smoked pot at the age of 13 and used LSD by 21. She was diagnosed as bipolar at 24 and was treated with electroshock therapy and medication to treat her mental health issues.

On numerous occasions Carrie had stated that while she maintained she no longer did drugs, the reason she had resorted to them was to calm down her mind. All of the manic activity was mind blowing, driving her to distraction. She needed help to function.

When she appeared with Colbert she brought along her adorable French bull dog, Gary, who went everywhere with her - for a reason.

Perhaps the audience was so enraptured with Gary's tongue and eyes that we all ignored that what was happening between Carrie and Gary wasn't quite normal.

Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher on their wedding day. When Debbie co-starred with Frank Sinatra in the 1955 film The Tender Trap she was engaged to Fisher. Sinatra warned her to not only not marry Fisher but to never marry a singer.
The dog constantly and profusely kept licking Carrie's hand. It was what Carrie wanted - needed. The licks were so energetic and non-stop that Colbert made a comment wondering if Fisher had spread A-1 Sauce over her hand.

Not a condiment as much as a psychiatric prescription.

An official psychiatric explanation includes:
"The following are some examples of tasks or work that a psychiatric service dog may perform to assist an individual with a psychiatric disability.

"Using the following behaviors to alert, interrupt or alleviate anxiety or panic: licking the handler’s face or hands, pawing at the handler and otherwise physically engaging the handler."

Because Gary is a breed of dog noted for tongue and eye movements acknowledged to be funny, the viewer's attention was diverted to the dog's cuteness - rather than paying attention to what was taking place and why.

Carrie then took her slobber soaked hand and wiped it on her slacks.

Colbert looked a bit shocked, but didn't comment. Carrie Fisher wasn't raised in a storm drain. She could have asked for a tissue or inquired if Colbert had a handkerchief to wipe away Gary's spit. Colbert probably could have included a funny line along with the napkin.

The fact that Carrie needed Gary to be licking her was a significant warning that Carrie was experiencing serious emotional anxiety. Several printed reports indicate that around Thanksgiving time - November 24 - Carrie had a drug relapse.

Yes, a lot of people in show business have support animals. The vast majority of those performers don't require a dog to lick them in public. When feeling stress, they find relief by simply holding the dog. Needing a dog licking you is a stress level above the person receiving comfort by stroking an animal. Most show biz types can control their emotional needs long enough to do a guest shot on a talk show. The fact that Carrie needed to be licked, followed by the inappropriate way she wiped her hand on her pant leg, makes a serious mental health statement coming from a person who was raised with manners - not in ignorance and poverty.

Viewers saw entertainment rather than a cry for help.

Family, friends, business associates and fans would have moved mountains to help Carrie had they realized that she was perhaps headed into serious distress. That's the problem. How do you recognize a serious issue? Also, there can be a difficult to distinguish line between a person who genuinely cares, with one who is feigning sincerity in order to control and manipulate.

As it ended up - nothing was done and every subtle cry for help wasn't recognized. Two people are dead. Had somebody gotten to Carrie and seen she received some help, she might still be alive. Were Carrie alive, her mother Debbie Reynolds wouldn't have experienced what caused her stroke and death.

Regarding the death of his mother Todd Fisher told the press: "It's fair to say she died of heartbreak."

Fisher told the press that about thirty minutes before she suffered a fatal stroke his mother had lamented that she wanted to be with Carrie.

"She loved taking care of my sister, more than anything," a distraught Todd Fisher told the press. "She gets to do that, now. That's what she wanted to do."

Two people are dead because the general public doesn't really know what do to. We pay significant lip service to the importance of mental health, but if a problem is evident, it's awkward to broach the subject. There is also such a thing as minding your own business - even if it means the person is about to go off a cliff. There are no specific - proven to work - mental health guide lines.

Debbie Reynolds a Tony, Emmy and Oscar nominated actress, singer, performer, historian and philanthropist was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital Wednesday, December 27, 2016 after suffering a massive stroke while making funeral arrangements for Carrie, who officially was pronounced dead the day before. Debbie Reynolds was 84.

Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. He told her she couldn't dance. She complained that he constantly tried to stick his tongue in her mouth when they kissed in a scene. Eventually, he succeeded. Decades later she called him a dancing genius.
Reynolds spent decades headlining in Las Vegas. At one time she even owned a Las Vegas hotel. Her extensive movie roles - appearing in more than 30 movie musicals and light comedians between 1950 and 1967 - including Singing in the Rain, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and the Tammy series. She also fell in love with Robert Wagner. See Broadway To Vegas column of September 12, 1999 about the movie studio breaking up Reynolds and Wagner.

Reynolds is not only an Academy award nominated movie legend, but starred on Broadway in Irene, winning a Tony Award nomination.

What few know is that Debbie Reynolds appearing on Broadway significantly changed her personal beliefs. Prior to Broadway the vivacious performer insisted that a clause in her Vegas contracts specify that all of her male backup dancers be "butch." That's the word she used. I happened to have been there when she was irritated. Somebody didn't want that clause in the contract and she was adamant that it be included.

She was raised in a certain age, in a strait laced religion. She didn't even want to discuss a gay lifestyle - sort of making faces as she spoke. She wasn't sure what might be going on in dressing rooms, or who might be hanging around backstage. It was her show and she only wanted straight dancers.

Then she went to Broadway.

After Broadway Debbie Reynolds had an entirely new perspective on love and lifestyle. She became a supporter of equal personal rights for everyone. No more attempts to get restrictive clauses in her contracts. She adored Bryan Lourd, the father of her granddaughter, who left her daughter for a man. When Billie was a small child and Carrie was hospitalized during one of her breakdowns, it was Reynolds who publicly stated that Lourd was the perfect father and should go to court and be awarded total custody of Billie. At that time she didn't even think Carrie should be given visitation rights. She both liked and respected Lourd.

The only negative comment I ever heard her make was that she didn't like the quirky birth announcement the couple sent when Billie was born. Apparently it had something to do with a scrambled egg.

The often fiery relationship between Debbie and her daughter - at one point they didn't speak for 10 years - grew to be one of mutual dependency. To keep an eye on the other, they lived next door.

Debbie and husband Eddie Fisher in the only movie they made together Bundle Of Joy. The fur coat concealed that she was pregnant. Photo: Studio publicity
While her first husband Eddie Fisher - father of Carrie - was a superstar singer, Reynolds also had a string of record hits. Her song Aba Daba Honeymoon - featured in the film Two Weeks with Love (1950) as a duet with Carleton Carpenter, was a top-three hit in 1951. Her recording of Tammy from the movie she starred in Tammy and the Bachelor, hit No. 1 on the charts.

Reynolds also scored two other top-25 Billboard hits with A Very Special Love (#20 in January 1958) and Am I That Easy to Forget (#25 in March 1960).

She appeared on numerous television shows including from 1999 to its 2006 series finale, playing Grace Adler's theatrical mother, Bobbi Adler, on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination. She plays a recurring role in the Disney Channel Original Movie Halloweentown film series as Aggie Cromwell.

In 2010 she starred in her own West End show Debbie Reynolds: Alive and Fabulous. In 2013 she appeared in Behind the Candelabra, as the mother of Liberace.

Her one professional heartache was the failure in not being able to create a movie memorabilia museum. See Broadway To Vegas column of April 25, 1998 about memorabilia auction

Reynolds amassed a large collection of movie memorabilia, beginning with the landmark 1970 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer auction, and displayed them, first in a museum at her Las Vegas hotel and casino during the 1990s and later in a museum close to the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.

The museum was to relocate as the centerpiece of the Belle Island Village tourist attraction in the resort city of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but the developer went bankrupt. The museum itself filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2009.

When it came to charity Reynolds was a standout. Since 1955, Reynolds had been active in The Thalians, a charitable organization, devoted to children and adults with mental health issues. In 2011 she stepped down after 56 years of involvement becoming an emerita member.

Reynolds received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. She also was the recipient of the 2016 Academy Awards Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. In 2016, a documentary about her life was released titled Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

After Reynolds was rushed to the hospital Joely Fisher, Carrie's half sister, posted a picture of her and Debbie Wednesday afternoon with the caption, "God speed mama."

In addition to being close to her children's two half sisters, whose mother is performer Connie Stevens and father is Debbie's ex-husband Eddie Fisher, Debbie also helped raised the three children of her second husband shoe magnet and compulsive gambler Harry Karl. The girl's mother was Marie McDonald. who died from a drug overdose in 1965.

Despite being divorced from Karl who died in 1982 at the age of 68, his children remained close to Debbie. They preferred to remain out of the spotlight, calling her 'Mom,' sometimes traveling with her to Las Vegas to work backstage and in personal positions with Debbie's shows.

Her 12-year marriage to third husband Richard Hamlett ended in divorce. Following her death he issued a glowing tribute to her, despite the fact that she had accused him of having a mistress and running off with her money. They had last communicated in bankruptcy court. See Broadway To Vegas column of August 10, 1998 about hotel auction.

Her son Todd Fisher was her support system. He was always extremely smart, professional, quiet, a solid rock that his mother loved and relied upon. On numerous occasions Debbie had remarked about a particular event and indicated that she couldn't have gotten through it without Todd. Officially, Todd has a professional background in architectural design and sound engineering, with experience designing and building sound stages, recording studios, and television facilities. His mother considered him a perfect son. See Broadway To Vegas column of November 30, 2003 about Debbie being arrested and going to jail because Todd was shot, and Debbie needing money for her museum.

In addition to all of the children Debbie Reynolds cared about and helped raise, she is survived by her son Todd Fisher and granddaughter, actress Billie Lourd.

Two people are hurting more than can be imagined. Todd Fisher lost his mother and sister. Billie Lourd lost her mother and grandmother. Their pain must be numbing.

They will be buried in Forest Lawn in a private service. Relatives for both Debbie and Carrie are planning a joint memorial service.

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Saffron Burrows by Derrick Santini June 2001. NPG x127322
2017 sees the fiftieth anniversary of the partial decriminalization of male homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967.

This display celebrates the advances in gay rights in Britain over the past half century and features portraits accompanied by quotations from the sitters discussing their own experience of ‘coming out’. These range from coming out to friends and family, to wanting to be honest to an audience of fans and media.

The title of the display is derived from ‘I am the Love that dare not speak its name’, the last line of a poem by Lord Alfred Douglas that was quoted as evidence of ‘gross indecency’ at the trial of his lover Oscar Wilde in 1895.

Their portraits and quotations, along with those presented in this display, can be found in an accompanying book, Speak its Name!, which brings together further moving, amusing and inspirational quotations. Covering a variety of LGBT-related issues, including equality, bullying, homophobia, love, sex and marriage, they are drawn from a diverse range of people, from King James I to Sandi Toksvig.

This free exhibit is on display until August 6, 2017 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS (NEA) has announced the first projects funded through a new program, NEA Research Labs. The cross-sector projects supported through the program investigate how the arts contribute to positive outcomes for individuals and communities. The NEA will fund four inaugural projects totaling $598,600 that will yield insights for the arts sector and for non-arts sectors such as healthcare, education, business, and management.

Of the 44 applications received by the NEA, the four labs recommended for funding are: Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR; University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

Each of the labs will design and implement a research agenda and prepare reports in one of three areas:

The Arts, Health, and Social/Emotional Well-Being
The Arts, Creativity, Cognition, and Learning
The Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation


her debut album has been released on Broadway Records. It's a moody CD in the best sense of the word.

I saw her in Bright Star for which she as nominated for a Tony Award. I enjoyed her in that show and she'd impressive on this CD. She opens this musical program, recorded Live at Feinsteins/54 Below in New York City, with the bluesy If You Knew My Story and two other selections from that Broadway musical penned by Steve Martin and Edie Brinkell, who wrote notes in the CD booklet.

Tell Me She Didn't and Believe In Me from the same production follow. Cusack calls this CD a love letter to Martin and Brickell whose production put Cusack on the American 'notice me' list.

Her soft twang is endearing. The live audience, which included some of the closed Bright Star cast members - loved her patter. Such as the taunt to civilian audience members: "For those of you who didn't see the show, I feel sorry for you," is typical of her humor.

Included in this CD are selections written for Bright Star which were cut before the show opened. Cusack has a hilarious commentary on Bright Star's original story-line which - fortunately - was cut from the show.

That is followed by Waddya Say, Jimmy Rae? with Joe Jung and I Have You.

She then discusses her childhood memories of musicals and experiences bringing her to a contemporary version of Secret Love. Her revelations of seeing her first musical, which took place as an adult in London and then getting hired with no experience and no Equity card, is funny. She delights with numbers from musicals in which she has appeared. Think of Me/ Dreamed a Dream from performing as Fantine in Les Misérables and as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, in which her dramatic soprano soars, followed by The Wizard and I/Back to Before from Wicked and Ragtime, which have been performed by many - but none better that Cusack's rendition.

You Don't Know This Man is poignant and powerful. Her almost little girl speaking voice is the polar opposite to her incredible vocal ability. Her voice can easily move from country twang to pure, dramatic Broadway bring-em-to-their feet closers.

A tribute to her first crush is recounted in her self penned Shane, which brings her back to her country/blues background. Wayfaring Stranger is emotional with hidden pain, and hope for what lies ahead. Stop is a dramatic beat number in which her voice scales her register. Lilac Wine is followed by a song about a safe haven, Middle Lane, the latter also written by Cusack. She returned to Wicked in which she toured, with the statement making For Good with Katie Rose Clarke, followed by a rousing version of Sun is Gonna Shine with Grammy Award winner Edie Brinkell, who Cusack brought up from the audience - calling it "audience participation." The audience roars their approval.

She closes with At Last and a knock it to the back of the house rendition of The Story. A bonus track is a hoedown version of Whaddya Say, Jimmy Rae? with Paul Telfer, who is Cusack's husband.

Can-do-it-all band members include: musical director Anthony DeAngelis on piano - Joe Jung guitar - Alex Eckhardt on bass - Martha McDonnell fiddle and Dear Sharenow drums.

Mastered by Greg Reierson. Rare Form Mastering. CD package design by Robbie Rozelle. Photos by Van Dean.

Carmen Cusack returns to Feinstein's/54 Below in March, 2017.


PERFORMANCE SPACE 122’S COIL 2017 FESTIVAL will premiere contemporary dance theater and performance works January 3-22, 2017 with 13 individual events at Performance Space 122.

The festival explores the constant vitality of live performance in New York City through contemporary artists from diverse genres, cultures and perspectives. Featuring work created locally, across the U.S., and around the world, Coil is known for its groundbreaking contemporary performance across interdisciplinary art, working with new technologies and forms. Through installations, live and virtual practices, PS122 is committed to redefining how, where, and when performance is experienced.

Performance Space 122 Artistic Director Vallejo Gantner commented: "We don’t present objects, static fixed ideas. These are living, breathing, complicated, flawed and wonderful experiences. Profound and unpredictable. Difficult."

Some of the events include Emmy award-winning experiential director Yehuda Duenyas’ CVRTAIN January 3-15 which is a virtual reality experience that draws on the tools of gaming and immersive theater. The UK’s Forced Entertainment present the US premiere of Real Magic January 5-8, a hallucinatory journey through a part mind-reading, part cabaret world of second-chances, individual agency and the desire for change. Worktable taking place January 5-9 by Belgian-based Kate McIntosh is a live installation that contemplates and completes acts of creation and destruction using every day, domestic objects. Once inside, you decide how things come apart.

An unusuak event is Blind Cinema January 9-12. In the darkness of a cinema space, you sit blindfolded. A child seated behind describes a film that only they will see and only this once in Britt Hatzius’ New York premiere of Blind Cinema.. Daniel Fish’s new, Untitled from Jan 12-22 work offers us a radical departure from his previous text-driven work and seeks to find out what happens when the actors and text are gone and the talking stops.

Yara Travieso’s La Medea (Jan 20-22) is an interdisciplinary musical re-imagining of Euripides’ violent tragedy into a dance-theater performance and feature film á la Latin-disco-pop variety show, complete with a live in-studio audience participating as the Greek chorus.Australian choreographers Anthony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe present the US Premiere of Meeting January 4-8, a rich encounter between man, machine, motion and sound as two performers share space with 64 robotic instruments. Custodians of Beauty January 5-8 by Bessie award-winning choreographer Pavel Zuštiak / Palissimo examines beauty and its intrinsic relationship with art through minimalist movement, sensuous abstraction and potent stage imagery.

Engulfing one another with fully embodied presence, choreographers and performers Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith move backward and forward through time and space in a dreamlike reimagining of personal histories in the world premiere of Basketball January 7-10. Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster January 11-14 is Australian Nicola Gunn’s story of a man, a woman, a duck and a moral dilemma in a disarming performance of text, rhythmic soundscape and intense physical choreography. A Study on Effort January 12-14 is a collaboration between the incomparable dancer Bobbi Jene Smith and acclaimed violinist Keir GoGwilt, consisting of 10 tasks that question physical, emotional and metaphoric effort through a lens celebrating the connections between sound, body and duration.

UK POETRY SLAM FEST Hammer & Tongue present a two-day literary extravaganza, where poets and spoken word artists will compete to become the UK master of spit and wit. January 7-8, 2017 at Royal Albert Hall in London.

JANUARY 1 is National Hangover Day and National Bloody Mary Day. January 4 is National Spaghetti Day and January 5 National Whipped Cream Day.


ROOM TAX RATES IN NEVADA are going up. Effective January 15, 2017 the transient lodging (room) tax rate increases from 12% to 12.5%.

For reservations arriving or in-house on January 15, 2017 thru February 28, 2017, the 12.5% room tax will be charged for all reservations, even those booked prior to January 15, 2017.

Effective March 1, 2017, the tax will increase again from 12.5% to 13.38%.

For reservations arriving or in-house on March 1, 2017 or thereafter, the 13.38 % room tax will be charged for all reservations, even those booked prior to January 15, 2017.

THE NEW YEAR'S QUEEN'S HONORS LIST has been released. The 1,197 names on the list include a number of entertainment industry individuals who have been honored.

Becoming a Companion of Honour is among the highest awards on the list - a rare award for people who have made an outstanding contribution over a long period of time. This year that high award is given to just six people. They include, from the world of stage and screen, director Sir Richard Charles Hastings Eyre, who is made a Companion of Honour for services to drama, while percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, 51, gets the same recognition for services to music.

Being knighted are The Kinks frontman Ray Davies, 72, and opera singer Bryn Terfel.

Adding Sir to their names as a knight are Mark Rylance, 56, the Wolf Hall and Bridge of Spies star recognized for services to the theatre. Patricia Routledge, best known for playing Hyacinth Bucket in TV's Keeping Up Appearances, is made a dame for services to theatre and charity.

Patricia Routledge seen in this photo when she starred on Broadway is now a "Dame'.
Veteran comic Ken Dodd receives a knighthood at the age of 89. Veteran war photographer Don McCullin, 81, is also knighted.

Musician Raymond Douglas Davies is knighted for services to the Arts. Kenneth Arthur Dodd, is knighted for services to Entertainment and charity. Professor Barry William, Principal Guildhall School of Music and Drama, is knighted for services to Performing Arts Education.

American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is made a dame for services to fashion and journalism.

Tennis champion Andy Murray, 29, and double gold-winning athlete Mo Farah have receive knighthoods, as does 11-times gold medalist dressage rider Lee Pearson, while heptathlete Ennis-Hill becomes a dame.

Adding a CB after their names are John McKay Carmichael, hairdresser to The Queen and Kathryn Cuthbertson, Pastry Chef, Royal Household.

Elsewhere in the arts world, fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, cartoonist Peter Brookes and author and illustrator Shirley Hughes are appointed CBE. So too is veteran broadcaster Angela Rippon, in recognition of her work in dementia care.

Also receiving a CBE are Naim Ibrahim Attallah, publisher of Quartet Books for services to Literature and the Arts; Cartoonist Peter Brookes for services to the Media; Rupert Goold. Artistic director of the Almeida Theatre, for services to Drama; Anya Hindmarch, fashion accessories designer, for services to Fashion; Miss Shirley Hughes, author and illustrator, for services to Literature; Artist Chris Ofili for services to Art. Luke Philip Hardwick Rittner, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Dance, for services to the Arts particularly Dance; Professor David Burton Smith, a writer, broadcaster and arts administrator for services to Culture and the Arts in Wales; Jennifer Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW Imperial War Museum, for services to the Arts.

Among the thespians named an OBE are Naomie Harris, Helen McCrory and Tim Piggott-Smith, while Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan receives the same honor.

Victoria Beckham, 42, is appointed OBE for services to the fashion industry - 13 years after her soccer great husband David received the same honor.

Artist Patrick Brill receives an OBE for services to the Arts. So does author Aminatta Forna for services to Literature; Professor Simon Webster Frith Tovey Professor of Music, University of Edinburgh, for services to Higher Education and Popular Music; artist Ryan Gander for services to Contemporary Art; actress Naomie Melanie Harris, for services to Drama; Nicholas Roald (Christopher) Logsdail founder and director of the Lisson Gallery for services to the Arts; James Lennox Mackenzie, violinist and lately chairman. London Symphony Orchestra, for services to Music; Stephen David Maddock, chief executive, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, for services to Music particularly in the West Midlands; actor Helen Elizabeth McCrory. for services to Drama; Caroline Miller, formerly director. One Dance UK, for services to the Arts; actor Timothy Peter Pigott Smith, for services to Drama.

Those receiving Member British Empire (MBE's) include Soho House founder Nick Jones and restaurateur Mark Hix - both appointed for services to hospitality. Also adding MBE to the end of their names are Imran Amed founder and chief executive Officer and Editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion, for services to Fashion; Debra Lyselte Bourne, co-founder All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, for services to Diversity in the Fashion Industry; actress Sharon Delores Clarke, for services to Drama; Jane Carr Davidson, Director of Outreach and Education Scottish Opera, for services to Opera and Education; Radio broadcaster Guy Richard Perryman for services to British music in Japan.

Classical countertenor Iestyn Davies receives an MBE for services to Music. Others are: Anthony David Arnold William Forbes, Chairman. Royal Choral Society, for services to Music; Beverley Glean, founder and Artistic director of the IRIE Dance Theatre, for services to the Promotion of African and Caribbean Dance; Sunita Golvala for services to South Asian Dance in the UK; Dr Stephen Francis Hetherington, for services to the Arts, particularly Music and Theatres; Terry Jones founder of i-D Fashion Magazine, for services to Fashion and Popular Culture; Andrew Mark Kerr, for services to the Arts and Conservation in Edinburgh.

Also, Barrington Patrick Marshal, for services to Music Promotion; Elma Leiper McCausland for services to Scottish Country Dancing; actor Clive Mark Rowe for services to Drama; Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre, for services to Theatre; Professor Fiona Ruth Sampson for services to Literature and the Literary Community; Dancer, choreographer and teacher Kenrick Sandy for services to Dance and the community; Reginald Leonard Smith, for services to Popular Music.

Also adding the initials are; Anne Smol, founder and chief executive of Face Front Inclusive Theatre, for services to Theatre and Inclusion in Drama; Professor Jonathan Paul Stephens, formerly director of Music and Music Education at the University of Aberdeen, for services to Music Education; Jaitinder Verma. co-founder Tara Arts, for services to Diversity in the Arts particularly Drama; Simon Ward, formerly chief Operating Officer British Fashion Council, for services to Fashion; Dr Stuart Glynn Wood, Head of Music Therapy at Barchester Healthcare, for services to Music Therapy and Care.

Receiving the British Empire Medal are: Jean Anderson (Margaret Jean, Mrs. Hunt), for services to Music; Leonard Bell, Drum Sergeant in the Langholm Pipe Band, for services to Music; Janice Connolly, Artistic director Women and Theatre, for services to Community Arts; Isobel Anne Stuart Gatward, for services to the Arts in Hampshire through the Mayflower Theatre Trust; Stephanie Jayne Hale for services to Authors and Literature; Anna Christina Maud Hamilton, for voluntary service to Organ Music; Gurcharan Mall, for services to British Asian Music and Performing Arts; Enid Pennington, for voluntary service to the Arts; Mary Helen Ross, for services to Country Dancing; Malcolm John Stent for services to Entertainment; Florence Elizabeth Ann Tinsley, for services to Music; Sheila Frances McCallum, for voluntary service to Music; Mary Rosalind McCleary, for services to the Arts.

Dr Jeffrey Philip Tate, CBE, Chief conductor Hamburg Symphony Orchestra received a Knights Bachelor for services to British music overseas. Lisa Karen Johnston, for services to the Arts in Guernsey, has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

The first ever honor for services to glassblowing was awarded to Thomas Young, who has been making glass by hand for nearly 60 years and started a business at the age of 77 aiming to train apprentices to follow in his footsteps.

CANDIDE a comic operetta in two acts by Leonard Bernstein. Book by Hugh Wheeler, after Voltaire. Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche and Leonard Bernstein.

Choreography by Patricia Birch. Directed by Harold Prince who states: "We’ve made some changes and right now this material is as relevant as it could ever be. I expect the audience will connect with its message.”

The cast features Tony Award-winner Linda Lavin as the Old Lady. Tony Award-nominee Gregg Edelman as Voltaire and Dr. Pangloss. Jay Armstrong Johnson as Candide. Meghan Picerno as Cunegonde. Keith Phares as Maximilian. Jessica Tyler Wright as Paquette.

Featuring Chip Zien and Brooks Ashmanskas in multiple roles.

Dr. Voltaire, a traveling showman, narrates the marvelous adventures of the legendary hero, Candide. His fantastic tale begins in Westphalia where four young people: Cunegonde, the Baron’s beautiful daughter; Maximilian, the Baron’s equally beautiful son; Paquette, the comely serving maid; and Candide, the bastard cousin are taught by their instructor Dr. Pangloss that they live in the best of all possible worlds, and that everything that happens in it happens for the best. Their utopian life is suddenly shattered when Candide and Cunegonde fall in love and the Baron summarily exiles Candide for having the audacity to ask for her hand in marriage.

The creative team includes scenic designer Clarke Dunham, costume designer Judith Dolan, lighting designer Ken Billington and sound designer Abe Jacob.

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of its world premiere this year, Bernstein’s Candide premiered on Broadway on December 1, 1956. In 1973, Harold Prince and Hugh Wheeler devised a new, one-act version of Candide, which ran on Broadway for 740 performances. Known as the “Chelsea” version, it served as the basis for New York City Opera’s “opera house version” which the company premiered under the General Directorship of Beverly Sills in 1982. The production received 34 performances over two seasons and solidified Candide’s place as an opera house standard.

January 6, 8, 11, 12, 13 and 15 with two performances each on Saturday, January 7 and Saturday, January 14. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, New York City.

JITNEY by August Wilson.

Directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon J. Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, John Douglas Thompson.

Only one of the ten plays in two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s masterful The American Century Cycle has never been seen on Broadway – until now.

Set in the 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.

MTC has a long history of co-producing works by this legendary playwright - King Hedley II, Seven Guitars and Piano Lesson - and is proud to produce this Broadway debut.

The creative team for August Wilson’s < i>Jitney includes David Gallo (scenic design); Toni-Leslie James (costume design); Jane Cox (lighting design), Darron L West (sound design); Bill Sims, Jr. (original music); Robert-Charles Vallance (hair and makeup design) and Thomas Schall (fight director).

Performances at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in New York City.

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS book by Craig Lucas; Music by Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin; Lyrics by Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin; Musical score adapted, arranged, and supervised by Rob Fisher.

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon.

David Andrews Rogers Conductor and musical director.

The Tony Award-winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. The magic and romance of Paris in perfect harmony with unforgettable songs from George and Ira Gershwin in the show that earned more awards than any other musical in the 2015 season.

Starring Garen Schribner as Gerry Mulligan and Sara Esty as Lise Dassin.

The Cast includes: Etai Benson, Emily Ferranti, Gayton Scott, Nick Spangler, Leigh-Ann Esty, Ryan Steele, Karolina Blonski, Brittany Bohn, Stephen Brower, Randy Castillo, Jessica Cohen, Barton Cowperthwaite, Alexa De Barr, Caitlin Meighan, Don Noble, Alexandra Pernice, David Prottas, Lucas Segovia, Kyle Vaughn, Laurie Wells, Dana Winkle, Erica Wong, and Blake Zelesnikar,

Swings: Jace Coronado, Erika Hebron, Christopher M. Howard, Colby Q. Lindeman, Nathalie Marrable, Tom Mattingly, Alida Michal, Gia Mongell, Sayiga Eugene Peabody and Danielle Santos.

Understudies: Stephen Brower, Jace Coronado, Barton Cowperthwaite, Erika Hebron, Christopher M. Howard, Colby Q. Lindeman , Nathalie Marrable, Tom Mattingly, Caitlin Meighan, Alida Michal, Gia Mongell, Alexandra Pernice, David Prottas, Danielle Santos, Kyle Vaughn , Laurie Wells and Dana Winkle.

Set and costume design by Bob Crowley. Lighting by Natasha Katz. John Weston sound design. Projection Design by 59 Productions. Seymour Red Press music coordinator. Bill Elliott arrangements.

Music orchestrated by Christopher Austin and Bill Elliott; Dance arrangements by Sam Davis; Associate Director: Dontee Kiehn; Associate Choreographer: Sean Maurice Kelly and Dontee Kiehn Company Manager: DeAnn L. Boise.Production Stage Manager: Kenneth J. Davis. Musical Supervisor: Todd Ellison. Casting: Telsey + Company and Rachel Hoffman, CSA; Dance Captain: Christopher M. Howard.

January 3-8, 2017 at the Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, NC.

THE BROADWAY MUSICAL CHICAGO has welcomed Mel B, “Scary Spice” to the revival at the Ambassador Theatre in New York City. The singer, part of of the iconic Spice Girls and a judge on America’s Got Talent, made her Broadway return beginning December 28 for an eight-week stand in the role of merry murderess Roxie Hart. You can enjoy Mel B. through February 19, 2017.

Mel B made her Broadway debut in April 2004 during the original run of Rent in the role of Mimi.


JILL EIKENBERRY best known for her starring role on the NBC drama L.A. Law makes her Feinstein's/54 Below debut in her brand new concert , Songs I've Sung. The show will include songs by Rogers and Hart, Kurt Weill, Keith Herman, Barbara Damashek, Randy Newman, and more. In addition Jill will invite a few talented friends, including members of the Gay Men’s Chorus and maybe even Jill’s notoriously shy husband, actor and author, Michael Tucker, to join the musical celebration of her first 70 years. At the piano will be Jill’s musical director, James Horan. He will be joined by Mike Kuennen on bass, and Max Tucker on drums. Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS perform Thursday, January 5, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Saturday's stop is at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. Next Sunday, January 8, finds them at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

ANN HAMPTON CALAWAY continues her engagement at he Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, FL. She performs there nightly through Saturday, January 7.

ELTON JOHN makes his first performance of 2017 tonight, Sunday, January 1, 2017 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

SULTANS OF STRINGS World Fusion perform next Sunday, January 8, 2017 at Arts Garage in Delray Beach, FL.


THE ALEXANDROV ENSEMBLE CHOIR sometimes referred to as the Red Army choir, was virtually wiped out when the plane they were on crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on Sunday, December 25, 2016.

The Tu-154 plane carried 92 people. The 186-member ensemble includes a band and a dancing troupe along with the choir that had about 70 singers. Sixty-four members of the ensemble, including director Valery Khalilov, were heading from Sochi to Russia's air base in Syria to perform a New Year's concert for troops when their plane crashed. All 92 people on board are presumed dead.

The Alexandrov Ensemble won global fame with its patriotic repertoire during Soviet times, but in recent years has sought to cater to modern audiences. Many of its performances have gone viral, including a rousing rendition of Daft Punk's Get Lucky by singers in full military dress at the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The choir was founded in 1928 by composer and conductor Alexander Alexandrov, and after his death in 1946 was led by his son, Boris Alexandrov, who headed the choir for more than 40 years, made it famous worldwide.

GEORGE MICHAEL was an English singer-songwriter was a teen idol selling millions of records in the 1980s as half of the pop duo Wham!, going on to become one of the era’s biggest pop solo artists with hits such as Faith and I Want Your Sex, died peacefully at his home in Goring, England England "over the Christmas holidays". He was 53.

His career took a downturn when he came out as gay in 1998 when he was arrested for lewd conduct in a public toilet in Los Angeles after being spotted by a male undercover police officer. He also had problems with drugs, being arrested in a public toilet, in North London in 2008 for drug use..

George Michael performed during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of two-time Grammy Award recipient George Michael. During an influential career that spanned nearly four decades, George became one of the most beloved pop craftsmen and respected entertainers. From the enormous success he achieved with pop duo Wham! to his influential solo career, his extraordinary talent had a profound impact on countless entertainers worldwide, and his creative contributions will live on forever. We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to George’s family, friends, and musical collaborators. He will be missed."

GEORGE S. IRVING a Tony Award winning actor died December 26, 2016. He was 93.

He won a Tony in 1973 for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in Irene opposite Debbie Reynolds.

In 1942 he was cast in the chorus at the MUNY in St. Louis, and made his Broadway debut in the original 1943 production of Oklahoma!, only to be drafted days later to serve in World War II.

With 32 Broadway credits, Irving performed in such classics as Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Can-Can, Bells Are Ringing, the 1981 revival of The Pirates of Penzance, and Me and My Girl, for which he earned a Tony nomination. He was last seen on a Broadway stage for the one-night-only benefit performance A Wonderful Life for The Actors’ Fund.

In 2008, Irving recreated the three roles he originally played in the ill-fated 1976 Joseph Stein musical So Long, 174th Street, now reworked, revised, and with its original title Enter Laughing at Off-Broadway's York Theatre Company.] Irving performed his one-man cabaret showat Feinstein's in New York City in November 2008. On December 8, 2008, aged 86, Irving received the 17th Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre.

The actor also worked in television.

Irving was married to Maria Karnilova from 1948 until her death in 2001. He is survived by their son, Alexander of Oceanside, California, a daughter, Katherine Irving of South Salem, New York, and three grandchildren.

ALLAN WILLIAMS who has been credited with discovering the Beatles and was their first manager died December 30, 2016. He was 86.

In 1958 Williams leased a former watch-repair shop in Liverpool, which he converted into a coffee bar. He named the venue the Jacaranda, after an exotic species of ornamental flowering tree, jacaranda mimosifolia. The Jac (as it became known) opened in September 1958. The Beatles were frequent customers, with John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe attending Liverpool Art College nearby and Paul McCartney being at Liverpool Institute adjacent to the college. Asking for the chance to play the club, Williams instead put them to work redecorating, with Lennon and Sutcliffe painting a mural for the Ladies room. Finally, the Beatles began playing occasionally playing at the Jac. Between May and August 1960, Williams secured a number of bookings for the group at other places.

It was Williams who drove the young musicians from Liverpool to Hamburg in a van in 1960, where they got their first gig of note and created their own special sound.

In 1962, before Brian Epstein became the band's manager, he contacted Williams to make sure there were no remaining contractual ties. Years later, Williams and The Beatles spoke fondly of one another, with McCartney describing Williams in The Beatles Anthology as 'a great guy'. In the 1970s, Williams played a crucial role in producing the first Beatles conventions to be staged in Liverpool, and he was a perennial VIP guest at the city's annual Beatle Week Festivals. In 1975, he published a memoir, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away, to which Lennon gave his endorsement.

He is survived by his wife Beryl Chang whom hemarried in 1955 and their two children.

Next Column: January 8, 2017
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Laura Deni

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