Broadway To Vegas


Copyright: January 11, 1999
By: Laura Deni


Valentine's Day is approaching and we at Broadway To Vegas are just a big bunch of romantic fools who think you who visit this Website are sweethearts.

Overcome with emotion - and a product donation - we are holding a drawing. See details at end of column on how to enter and what the winner will receive.


Jerry Springer, N Sync, and Usher were some of the celebrities at a recent party in Las Vegas.

Attending the bash were five of the Crazy Girls, who perform at the Riviera Hotel.

Every party has its oops moments and one of those was experienced by Crazy Girl Stephanie Ruttenberg. "I spilled my drink on Brian Austin Greene of Beverly Hills 90210," she confessed.

"He was a little irritated, but nice about it. I walked by him and somebody bumped into me, so it was an accident and my drink went all over the actor."

Andrea Guevara, who happened to be celebrating her birthday was elated that she "danced with a guy from N Sync."

All of the Crazy Girls were impressed by Jerry Springer. "He was really cool," exclaimed Guevara. "He's very friendly, laid-back and down-to-earth. It was awesome."


Sensual actress Kathleen Turner has opened in a one woman show at Miami's Coconut Grove Playhouse, in which she does an interpretation - not an impersonation - of Tallulah Bankhead. As expected, the opening was SRO with standing ovations.

The outrageous Tallulah, whom Tennessee Williams called his role model for the character of Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire, was a chain smoking, alcoholic who enjoyed giving interviews while on the toilet and got a kick going to the bathroom in front of men.

Kathleen Turner
"I had an immediate sense of recognition in this woman's spirit," said Turner referring to an inner personality, rather than the outward exhibitionism. In trying to explain the woman she is portraying Turner has said: "She indomitable and optimistic ... and she keeps screwing up so badly."

Bringing this project to fruition has been a two year project for the sultry actress. She first staged a reading of this, as a work in progress, two years ago in England. After the Florida engagement, which is the American premiere of the play written by Sandra Lynn Heyward and directed by Michael Lessac, the actress who first gained superstar status in the 1981 film Body Heat, wants to test the water in a couple of other markets before opening on Broadway.

Her last appearance on the Great White Way was in the revival of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, which sent slip sales skyrocketing. Turner also starred in Indiscretions.

While Turner has never played Vegas, Bankhead did. When the Sands Hotel celebrated their first anniversary in 1953 it was Tallulah they signed to star in their famed Copa Room. Attending her performance were Danny Thomas, Marlene Dietrich, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, and Montgomery Cliff.

Later Bankhead helped in publicity shots, burying a 12-foot time capsule which contained Bing Crosby's pipe, the boxing glove of Sugar Ray Robinson, worn when he won the middleweight crown, Ray Bolger's dancing shoes and a wax impression of Jimmy Durante's nose.

The nightlife, drinking and party atmosphere of the Vegas bright lights suited Bankhead just fine.

Rumors swirled regarding the presence of Dietrich at the Bankhead show.

Tallulah, who was the daughter of a former U.S. Speaker of the House, was noted for thumbing her nose at convention. "My father warned me about men and booze, but he never said a word about women and cocaine."

January 18, 1942 Bankhead studying the script for her appearance in Clifford Odets' Clash By Night on Broadway in 1941-42. The play ran for 49 performances. Lee J. Cobb also appeared. Billy Rose produced, Lee Strasberg directed.
She titillated Broadway and London in the 1920s by her extravagant performances on stage and off, and later frittered away her talent by living too dangerously. She called everyone dahling because she couldn't remember names.

This one woman show is a part actresses of a certain age long to have come their way. Although it's a meaty role, the grueling pre-production rigors even caused Turner, 44, to admit during rehearsals in New York, that she was beginning to think she was nuts for taking on the arduous project.

As for the Bankhead mode of living, it's not Turner's cup of tea.

"I don't believe in the excesses she liked to practice." Portraying Bankhead has given Turner a new appreciation for her own quiet lifestyle.

Fully recovered from a painful knee operation, Turner views her role as Tallulah and gratefully goes home to her husband and daughter saying - "Thank God!"


Treat Williams
Treat Williams and Brandon Espinoza take center stage when the Manhattan Theatre Club presents the New York premiere of Captains Courageous, The Musical, with music by Frederick Freyer, book and lyrics by Patrick Cook, and directing under the helm of Lynne Meadow.

No stranger to musical theatre, Treat Williams made his Broadway debut in the original company of Grease.

Williams achieved stardom when director Milos Forman cast him in the movie adaptation of the Broadway hit, Hair. Television audiences saw him in Dempsy, the story of the famed heavyweight boxing champ, and as Stanley Kowalski opposite Ann-Margret in the ABC production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He also appeared as Hollywood executive Michael Ovitz in HBO's The Late Shift.

Performances begin tomorrow, January 12, officially opening February 16. Musical staging for Captains Courageous, The Musical, is by Jerry Mitchell. Orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick, with costumes by Catherine Zuber, lights by Brian MacDevitt, and sound by Ottis Munderloh.


A one-woman musical comedy, Daddy's Girl, about a rustic redhead with a marquee sized-talent and an indomitable will to survive, begins performances at The Duplex Theatre, NYC on Saturday, January 16.

The show features Lorinda Lisitza as Ethel Mae Pepnik - the Daddy's Girl of the title. The book and lyrics are by John Astor-Kaye, music by Donald Arrington, and direction by Mr. Astor-Kaye.

Daddy's Girl is set in New York's gritty theatrical demimonde, where hunger, disappointment, and delusion are a life style for so many drawn to the blinding lights of Broadway - especially when you come from the priggish corn belt confines of Big Sandy, Nebraska. After her mother's death, Ethel flees Big Sandy to find her father, an alleged Broadway producer. But fame and her father elude her, and Ethel plummets into deep despair after landing the role of Death in an off-the map opera, identifying intensely with her macabre role both on and off the stage. Help comes in the form of a glamorous aging queen and little orphan Ethel tackles the Big Apple in her quest for sex, love, fame and family.

The production includes 10 original musical numbers including a one-woman grand operatic duet. Performances run through Feb. 27th.


Black Sabbath's lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne recently turned the big five-zero and a half-million dollar birthday party - fitting the performer's eerie persona - was held at the Beverly Hills hotel.
Jetting in to perform was Joan Rivers impersonator Frank Marino, who stars in An Evening at La Cage at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.

"Ozzy Osbourne loves Joan Rivers and female impersonators and had heard of me so his family had the coordinators call me to surprise him," reported Marino.

He said, "It was very macabre and Elvira-ish looking. The floor was covered with fake white fur; they had glass tanks in the shape of crosses with burning candles, a casino, a bar with vines and trees and a 40-piece swing band. The stage backdrop was cockatoos in cages."

Marino continued, "They had Chinese and Japanese food. They had redone the garden with a Hindu theme. The people were dressed as genies or harem girls, cooking Indian food and playing sitars." Added Marino, "They redid the banister with licorice and marshmallows." Marino returned safely to Las Vegas, where he impersonates Rivers up to three times a night, at the Riviera Hotel.


When the McGuire Sisters opened at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas last Thursday, after an absence of several years, the opening night got off to an interesting start. Phyllis' long time on-again-off-again-on-again romance with Bob Stupak, saw the former colorful hotel owner get into a fist fight with the singer's body guard. Security was called and Stupak was escorted off the property.

The McGuire Sisters, who looked gorgeous and sounded great, went on with the show which was attended by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Sonny King and Marty Allen. Following the show the trio signed autographs and had their pictures taken with the fans.


The delightfully outrageous Penn and Teller whose Sin City Spectacular is taped - where else - in Las Vegas will have fellow magician Lance Burton of the Monte Carlo Resort as the featured star. Sin City Spectacular was taped at the MGM Grand Hotel's Theme Park theater and features a diverse selection of talent. The program airs Jan 18 on the FX cable channel.

Speaking of Burton, the prestidigitator will perform a special show Magic, Music and Mirth on Sunday, Jan. 24 at the Monte Carlo Hotel to benefit The Animal Foundation's Target Zero no-euthanasia project with special guest stars, comedian Elaine Boosler and The Smothers Brothers.

Tickets priced $35 to $95. All proceeds will be donated to The Animal Foundation.

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THE CAPTAIN'S TIGER, A MEMOIR FOR THE STATE is a semi-autobiographical play written by and starring Athol Fugard about the adventurous life of a young writer. Opens tomorrow, Jan 12, at the Manhattan Theater Club's Stage 2.

FAR EAST A.F. Gurney's play about a naval officer stationed near Tokyo during the Korean War who falls in love with a Japanese woman opens tonight at the Newhouse Theatre, NYC.

ECLIPSE: MAGIC FOR THE MILLENNIUM a new Dick Foster production debuts at Harrah's Lake Tahoe on Wednesday.

RENEE TAYLOR & JOE BOLOGNA brought their new play If You Ever Leave Me, I'm Going With You, to Las Vegas for performances at the Orleans Hotel. The audience was composed of the over 60 crowd, which is the proper age group to target for this play, which still needs some work.

YOHEN by Philip Kan Gotanda starring Danny Glover and Nobu McCarthy opens Wednesday at the David Henry Hwang Theatre in Los Angeles. Performances through Feb. 5.

LITTLE BY LITTLE a new musical told entirely through song that chronicles the relationships of a man and two women from their childhood as best friends through a love triangle as adults, is being produced by The York Theatre Company, with performances at the Theatre at Saint Peter's Church, NYC. It stars Liz Larsen, who received a Tony nomination for The Most Happy Fella, Christiane Noll who appeared as Emma Carew in Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde, and Darrin Baker, whose Broadway credits include The Scarlet Pimpernel and Sunset Boulevard. Music by Brad Ross, lyrics by Ellen Greenfield and Hal Hackady. Story by Ms. Greenfield and Annette Jolles, who also directs the production.


ELVIS BIRTHDAY WEEK wrapped up yesterday in Memphis. Taking part were The Jordanaires, who sang backup for Presley on records and during live concerts from 1952-1970. During the Elvis Birthday Week Celebration they participated in events at Graceland and at the Presley Cafe. In Vegas their 1999 contract calls for them to appear 40 weeks at the Gold Coast Hotel. The Jordanaires open on Wednesday.

FIVE STAR APPROACH was used by the soon-to-open Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, which will have rooms on five floors at Mandalay Bay Resort. Both resorts open March 2. The posh Four Seasons staged a job search for 500 new employees. All of those standing in line to hand in their applications were greeted by waiters in white jackets offering hot towels and Starbucks Coffee.

The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas has received more than 77,000 calls from job applicants. The Venetian will hire 4,000 for the 3,036-suite resort, scheduled to open in April. Those lucky enough to be hired will have access to a free health club and wellness center operated by Canyon Ranch Spa, on-site childcare, and a free employee concierge with free-dry cleaning, faxing, photo copying, package mailing and service referrals.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW which closed yesterday (Sunday) in Las Vegas had a lot of star power promoting the new fangled gewgaws. Philips Electronics featured some of Motown's best - Lou Rawls, Patti Austin and James Ingram with emcee Robert Townsend. The stars performed five times a day at the Philips booth. Along with their shows, each recording artist was available for photos and autographs. The elaborate Philips booth featured replicas of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower. In between was their stage. I saw people lined up 10 deep to get Rawls' autograph. As far as the convention, one word sums it up - digital.


THE PRIZE Columbia Telecommunications Inc., manufacturer of high quality, reliable phones, has donated --- what else but a phone! Details as to style, color, model number and other particulars in next week's column.
THE RULES The Suits say we gotta have rules and regulations to keep a free drawing on the up and up.

HOW TO ENTER All you have to do to enter is E-mail us your name and a complete mailing address, so that we can mail the winner their prize. We just hate it when Websites get snoopy and ask visitors to complete long information questioners. Again, all we need is your name and that important COMPLETE mailing address. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PER WEEK IS PERMITTED

LEGAL STUFF No employees of this Website may enter. Only valid entries will be put into a container. Then we'll get some stranger to select a winner. The winner is responsible for all taxes, or duty charges, if they apply. No cash equivalent, exchanges or substitutions permitted. Void where prohibited. As simple as that. One of our pet peeves (we have many) are contests that take entry names and give/sell/or trade them Not us. We promise to keep your entry a big fat secret. We just want to award a Valentine prize as a way of saying we appreciate everyone who visits this Website. All entries must be received by noon Central Standard Time, Sunday, February 14, 1999. The winner's name, city, state and country will be announced in the column of Feb. 15, 1999. No specific street or E-mail address will be posted. We hope you'll enter every week. Our E-mail address is listed at the end of this column.

Next Column: January 18, 1999
Copyright: January 11, 1999. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, reprinted, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.
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Laura Deni

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