The Second Annual Life in the Theatre Achievement Award, presented by the T. Schreiber Studio
will be bestowed upon Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson. The gala benefit dinner and award
ceremony hosted by Betty Buckley will take place at the Players Club in New York City on Jan.
ELI WALLACH and ANNE
Guests on board to salute the acting greats include; Jason Robards, Tony Randall, 1999 Tony
winners Brian Dennehy and Elizabeth Franz, theatre duos Anne Mears & Jerry Stiller, Ossie Davis
& Rudy Dee, Milo O'Shea & Kitty Sullivan, director Arthur Storch, playwright Murray Shisgal,
librettist Joseph Stein and producer Roger Berlind. Oscar nominee, Golden Globe winner and T.
Schreiber Studio alumnus, Edward Norton, chairs this year's Honorary Committee.
ELI WALLACH and ROBERT
DE NIRO IN NIGHT AND THE CITY
The extraordinary careers of Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson span more than fifty years in theatre,
television and film. They met in rehearsal for the 1946 Off-Broadway production of Tennessee
Williams' This Property is Condemned which was also Wallach's stage debut. What
followed is one of the longest running love stories in theatre history - appearing together in eight
Broadway shows, three Off-Broadway plays, three films - and a 51-year marriage.
Jackson's Broadway debut was in 1945 in Eva LaGalliene's production of The Cherry
Orchard. She received three Tony nominations for Summer and Smoke, Oh Men, Oh
Women and Middle of the Night, and an Obie Award for The Typist and the
Wallach won a Tony Award for his performance in The Rose Tattoo. The 1991 recipients
of the Helen Hays Award, the Wallachs are currently appearing in Ann Meara's Down
the Garden Path at the George Street Playhouse.
Terry Schreiber founded the T. Schreiber Studio in 1969. In addition to classes the Studio
produces an annual season of six full-scale productions, showcasing professional actors studying
at the Studio and alumni, in their new theatre. To date. The Studio has produced more than 200
plays including one Broadway transfer.
PRESLEY: LARGER THAN
This is the third of a three part series on Elvis Presley, an entertainer who changed the course of
music. In Las Vegas Presley became known as The King. He was set for a return engagement at
the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.
Elvis rehearsed five hours a day, losing ten pounds in the process. "He's really working on this
one," said a stagehand. "He doesn't know if he can still cut it."
His comeback was the most important in pop music.
The audience was predominately white and middle-aged; the opening night celebrities in
attendance included; Fats Domino, Phil Ochs, Pat Boone, movie critic Rex Reed and Henry
Mancini. People took the occasion seriously.
Colonel Parker, wearing a white coat with ELVIS stenciled all over it, walked around the room
Presley's television special of the previous winter saw him in a leather jacket. For this month-long
engagement it was a white jumpsuit slashed to the navel. Pearls coiled in bunches around his
neck. Pearls girdled his tapered waist in a karate belt; ropes of pearls alternating with ropes of
gold, the whole sash tied over one hip, with the ends brushing his left knee.
Or the midnight blue karate tunic and trousers. His hair was black and straight. Skinny as a
knife and looking good. Male cheese cake if you ever saw it. Gone was the oily wavy hair, the
pouting baby-round face. There were mileage lines on his face, creases in his cheeks.
Coming to the guitar break in I'm All Shook Up, Presley strummed the acoustic
instrument with the carelessness of a practiced faker. The number ended abruptly with Presley
snapping into profile and thrusting his guitar bayonet-wise at the chorus.
It was during his Army stint that Presley became interested in exercise, karate and remaining
physical fit. He earned a black belt in karate while in the Army and could split a brick or a stacked
pair of two-by fours with his right hand, which as a result of his practicing, became slightly
Every number ended with a classically struck profile - Elvis as the Discus Hurler, Elvis as
Sagittarius, Elvis as the Dying Gaul
Women in the audience lunged towards the stage like salmon going up a falls.
Presley's In the Ghetto, was a No. 1 hit everywhere, except in the ghetto.
His emotions in doing the song were so honest that it transformed the song, representing a white
Southern boy's feeling for black music, with all it implied.
His once-lewd gyrations seemed placid. "Man, I was tame compared to what they do now," he
said. "I didn't do anything but just wiggle."
Even the rock bible Rolling Stone praised him, though it deplored his "schlocky
arrangements and the tasteless wrapping of Cool Whip" that frequently obscured him.
There was an opening night press conference. A woman asked the idol if he had trouble relating
to an audience of mostly older people. He shook his head and smiled. "The old people have
learned, you know. They can do it, too."
Another reporter asked why he dyed his hair. He replied: "Because it's gray."
In the casino the Colonel was dropping $500 a roll at the roulette wheel.
COLONEL PARKER autographed Hilton envelopes
bearing the Elvis commemorative stamp. Parker's philosophy was "save and sell." He instructed
trusted hotel employees to save any envelopes returned to the hotel so that they later could be
Although his cut was a minimum of $2 million a year, Parker was still clinging to his carny ways.
When Elvis appeared at Dallas' cotton Bowl, there was Parker at the main gate, selling
autographed Presley photos. "Don't ever get so big you won't sell pictures," he advised.
Parker also had a cottage industry going in the basement of the Hilton Hotel. The hotel had a
printing department and Parker manufactured what he peddled as Italian originals. "He used the
names of the men who worked in the print show, Rafael or Raoul or whatever.Those were the
names of the guys in the print shop. Parker then put the "art" in European looking frames. If
people were dumb enough to believe they were old and valuable, Parker was smart enough to
take the money and run," said a former high ranking hotel executive.
Presley was also a commodity. Wrap him in yellow and orange sequins, bathe him in red and blue
lights, back him with flutes and violins, his animal energies overwhelmed even crass Vegas
versions of refinement. He was still chartreuse styrofoam dice dangling from the rearview mirror,
a pack of Lucky Strikes rolled in his T-shirt, running a comb through his hair, asking, "Woncha
wear my ring around your neck?"
Between songs a sideman would drape pastel scarves around the Presley neck. With his
I'm-cool-about-being-late-for-study-hall saunter, he ambled to the front of the stage, dabbed his
sweaty brow with a scarf, and awarded it to one of the groupies planted front and
Christmas post cards from Elvis always
included Colonel Parker.
Another groupie offered up a photo of Elvis circa 1957, when he was svelte. He scrutinized it,
bemused, and sighed, - almost to himself - "Godalmighty!"
Self-parody became his refuge from the boredom of songs sung too many times.
At one point with the lights dimmed, his back to the crowd, one almost captured the spark of the
idol. He began a song and the crowd hushed. Then he turned around, his face hidden underneath a
child's monkey mask. The aura was gone.
He feigned difficulty in getting the left side of his upper lip into his famous curl. He poked it up
with a finger, muttering: "When I was 19 it worked just fine."
Then in August, 1972, Elvis and Priscilla suddenly separated and on January 8, 1793, Elvis filed
for a California divorce, giving Priscilla custody of their daughter.
Though separated, Priscilla took Liza Marie to Las Vegas, where Presley was starring at the
Hilton, so the little girl could spend her birthday with her father. According to hotel musicians that
was the only occasion when Presley seemed in good spirits. Lisa, who always had her father's
eyes, lost a baby tooth while in Vegas and Presley, playing the tooth fairy, left $5 under her
pillow. Priscilla got angry, fearing that Presley was spoiling their daughter.
It was a divorce settlement of almost two million. Outside the Los Angeles Courthouse where
they were divorced on October 11, 1973, Elvis kissed his ex-wife goodbye.
PRESLEY was nearsighted and owned more than 200
pairs of prescription sunglasses worth $60,000. His vision problems grew worse, including
problems with glare.
Elvis' eyesight problems intensified. He wore glasses to read music and the hot-bright stage lights
bothered his sensitive eyes. He spent several weeks in a Tennessee hospital hoping to save his
He began to miss shows, too sick to perform. The critics began tearing him apart and the Colonel
kept promoting. The hotels were catering, not to Presley, but to the Colonel. Said one hotel
executive, "Colonel Parker is Elvis Presley.
It was the Colonel, not Elvis, who was entitled to half of one publicity person's time. That time
was paid for - not by the Colonel - but by the hotel.
THE DINING ROOM of Elvis Presley's Las Vegas
Hilton Hotel suite. It was dubbed Graceland West.
In Presley's suite was a dining table where the Colonel regularly hosted dinners for eight. The
Epicurean delights were prepared according to the Colonel's demands; the hotel menu ignored.
While Parker ate in style Presley would frequently sit on the living room floor, spitting cherry pits
at the wastebasket. Elvis would also order up hamburgers - 40 at a time.
The reason for all the attention was that the Colonel was a heavy gambler. Frequent reports list
his losses of "at least five figures nightly."
"Hell, yes, he loses," exclaimed a casino boss." Do you think for one minute we'd do all of this if
he were winning? The minute he starts to win is when the hotel bosses stop playing up to him. We
take Elvis because the Colonel wants us to."
Presley's hospital visits became more frequent. While appearing at the Hilton he spent his nights at
Sunrise Hospital, leaving the hospital to perform the dinner show. His personal Las Vegas
physician Dr. Sidney Boyers stood with him in his dressing room between shows. His Vegas
engagement ended, Presley the renowned gift giver presented Dr. Boyer with a new, white
ELVIS PRESLEY'S FATHER, VERNON, HIS
EX-WIFE, PRISCILLA and BARRON HILTON were among those who attended the unveiling
of the bronze Elvis statue at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.
"Good evening, ladies and gentleman," a smiling Presley said during his return to the Nevada
stage. "It's a pleasure to be back - from - a three-week engagement at the Baptist Hospital in
There had been so many medical bulletins about Presley that critics started reviewing his diseases
rather than commenting on his performance. It was during the previous Vegas performance that
Presley canceled the remainder of a two-week gig after just three nights and checked into the
Memphis hospital. A doctor explained that Presley was suffering from exhaustion and an enlarged
colon. He was hospitalized three times in 1974, for what doctors said at the time was a twisted
He got back on his feet for a whirlwind five-day March, 1976 concert tour, which sold out in
every city without advertising. He headed towards the then Sahara-Tahoe Hotel at Lake Tahoe,
Nevada. The hotel put tickets on sale March 10 at $20 per person, which included two drinks, but
no food. All shows were sold out.
At the Sahara Tahoe there were strains on the seams of his spangled suit. Blubber hung over his
ornate belt. The hips and legs, clad in skintight trousers, didn't perform his highly publicized
gyrating karate movements. Then the legs began to shimmy. He had his act together.
Shrieks began emanating from the packed, red-velvet showroom. "We love you, Elvis," someone
shouted. "You're still the king," yelled another.
In September, 1978 Elvis was enshrined with the unveiling of a bronze statue, which is now
located inside the front entrance of the Hilton. He made the Hilton his Las Vegas home for more
than seven years and in doing so permanently changed the Las Vegas entertainment
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SELENA FOREVER the
Broadway-bound musical about the life of the slain Tejano music superstar, who took Tejano
music from backyard weddings to 60,000 seat stadium concerts, has cast Rebecca
Valadez, 21, and Veronica Vasquez, 24, in the title role.
The San Antonio, Texas actresses will alternate in the demanding role that
requires the Selena
character to sing 14 or 15 songs per performance.
Cuban born Fernando Rivas, a Julliard graduate
in composition penned the score. The $2 million musical has a cast of 35. Vasquez is a rhythm
and blues singer while Valadez sang backup for the 1998 Janet Jackson tour.
Playing the part of
Selena's sister will be a college theatre major, 19-year-old Lisa Ybarra. Also cast are
Stefanie Gonzales 11, who will portray Selena as a child.
The female fan club president who
gunned down 23- year-old Selena Quintanilla-Perez is not a character in the musical which
focuses on the positive sides of Selena's life. The production is going utilize many of Selena's
original costumes, including the famous purple suit Selena wore at the Houston Rodeo.
The world premiere will take place at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium, coinciding with
the fifth anniversary of the singer's March 31 death. The six day engagement will encompass eight
shows. The production produced by Jerry Frankel, Michel Peter Fitzgerald, Forbes Candlish and
Thomas J. Quinn then begins a national tour in seven Texas cities before traveling to Chicago and
CLINT HOLMES has Takin' It
Uptown with his new production show which opened at Harrah's, Las Vegas. Almost stealing
the show was Clint's 84-year-old mother, Audrey, a professional opera singer. Clint handed her
the mike and the diva left no doubt that Clint can thank her for inheriting class act vocal
A TALE OF THE ALLERGIST'S WIFE starring Linda Lavin, Tony Roberts and Michele Lee opens February 29 at
the Manhattan Theater Club, NYC.
DAVID CASSIDY AND SHEENA EASTON star in At The Copa an original musical that follows the rise and
fall of a nightclub performer played by Cassidy. Easton plays Ruby Bombay. This will be the real
Sheena Easton, not her ex-husband. It seems that the Scottish lass, born Shirley Orr, first wed at
age 18, in a union that last eight months. Her performing/song writing ex-husband then began
working in drag - impersonating his ex-wife. Previews begin on Tuesday at the Rio Hotel, Las
THE DRUMMERS OF WEST AFRICA will bring their world renowned performance of African traditional rhythms
to Art Ham Hall, Las Vegas on Jan. 23. The company is composed of 35 drummers playing a
variety of percussion instruments to achieve their own unique sound. Doudou N'Diaye Rose, the
company's composer and conductor has achieved international stardom for his pioneering work.
He has composed and collaborated with Peter Gabriel, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and the
SOME ENCHANTED EVENING
FRANK WHALEY and FRANCIE
SWIFT in Crystal Skillman's Tooth one of the four plays that make up the evening
entitled Thicker Than Water. Photo By: Carol Rosegg
a musical, is at the Sioux City Community Theater, Sioux City, Iowa through Jan. 21.
THICKER THAN WATER an
evening of four new one-act plays by members of Youngblood, begins performances Jan. 19 at
the Ensemble Studio Theater, NYC.
Amy Fox's featuring Peter Rini, Sally Wheeler and Andersen Gabrych, is about an
engaged couple and neighbor trapped on the roof of their apartment building.
about a first date between a writer and a bank teller.
Heartbreak of the Last Handwriting
is an online fairy tale about an internet romance.
Baby Blue features Anne Newhall, Amy
Staats, Marc Romeo and Michael Ryan Segal, who converge on a lonely stretch of beach and
discover the ties that bind are not easily unraveled.
Youngblood was established at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in the 1993-84 season. The group's
multi-cultured membership has been drawn from New York's strongest theatre and writing
programs, as well as open submissions.
The collective has generated more than 40 original plays.
Last season the group presented John Belluso's full-length play Gretty Good
CLAIRE BLOOM and CHARLIE
CHAPLIN in Limelight.
that elegant, beautiful and talented English actress with the illustrious career,
has hit the road.
Shouldn't come as a surprise that her Provo,Utah performance in Shakespeare's Women
was a winner.
CLAIRE BLOOM declined Presley's sexual
Charlie Chaplin directed her first screen success in Limelight, as the young
ballet dancer Chaplin saved from suicide.
Born Claire Blume in London, at age 15 she worked
with the Oxford Repertory Theater. In 1956 she held her own as
Lady Anne opposite Laurence Olivier in Richard III. Although she admits to a list of
lovers that include Richard Burton, Rod Steiger, Yul Brenner and Anthony Quinn, she turned
down Elvis Presley.
In 1958 Presley was 23 and shooting King Creole next to the sound stage where Bloom -
then 37 - was filming The Brothers Karamazov with Brenner.
Her nine-year marriage to
Steiger was on the rocks and Bloom recalled that Presley was "direct" in his sexual advances. In
her book Leaving A Doll's House Bloom wrote "there wasn't a great deal of subtlety
about Elvis. He was direct. His magnetism was as considerable as his unmistakable aura of
sexuality." Never-the-less Bloom turned him down recalling "Alas! A chance missed, but one
I have lived well without."
JAZZ'S FIRST CENTURY - SWING a series of music lectures about music from 1900-1925 by Loreb
Schoenberg. The Jan 18 lecture hones in on the music of Louis Armstrong, King of New
Orleans. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.
RUSSIAN NATIONAL ORCHESTRA performs Jan. 21 and 23 at Lincoln Center, NYC. In attendance will be
Sophia Loren. Her son, Carlo Ponti, Jr., has been a guest conductor. Sophia will be turning heads
at the RNO's Supporters' Luncheon at the Russian Tea Room.
ITZHAK PERLMAN world
renowned violinist performs at the Art Ham Hall, Las Vegas on Jan 22. Perlman, who at the age
of 4 was stricken by polio, has chosen to focus on his abilities instead of disabilities. His
determination, flawless technique and unmatched charm resulted in an overwhelmingly successful
career. Perlman's diverse appeal is apparent in his wide array of performances, which range from
Beethoven's Violin Concerto at the Hollywood Bowl, to singing Put Down the Ducky on
Seasame Street. He's earned him 15 Grammy Awards, and President Regan awarded him
the Medal of Liberty.
RANDI GRAFF, DEBBIE GRAVITTE, and LILIAS WHITE
perform the songs of David Zippel who wrote City
of Angels and Hercules among others. Joe's Pub NYC Mondays January 17, 24, and
DIANE SCHUUR the
jazz great who has been blind since birth, and conquered a drug problem over a decade ago, will
be singing and tinkling the ivories Friday at Boulder Station, Las Vegas
ALISON KRAUSS and UNION STATION, JERRY DOUGLAS
tonight, January 16, Alabama Theatre, Birmingham.
BRYAN ADAMS January 17, Centennial
Concert Hall, Winnipeg, Canada.
JOHNNY WINTER January 17, First
Avenue Theater, Minneapolis.
MELBA MOORE who starred on
Broadway in Hair and Purlie and sang backup for Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis
and Harry Belafonte, performed Saturday night at the Sooner Theatre, Norman, Okla. Her show
featured hits from Broadway, Cole Porter tunes and showstoppers designed to showcase her
VICKI LEWIS AND NANA VISITOR on Tuesday step into the Chicago roles of Velma Kelly and Roxie
Hart at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.
the jazz trumpet great, who is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame performs in Las Vegas at the
Riviera Hotel on January 25.
Born in Montreal, Ferguson was a permanent fixture of the Stan Kenton Orchestra. In the late
60s and early 70s he lived in England and led a band composed of British musicians.
the pond he completed a television special The Wonderful World of Maynard Ferguson.
Going where the work is, Ferguson returned to the United States in 1974 after his recorded
version of MacArthur Park became a hit, causing his American concert schedule to
THIS AND THAT
SWING! the musical at the St.
James Theatre, NYC is dancing for the healthy heart. Featured performer Robert Royston,
who with his partner Laureen Baldovi has won more U.C.W.D.C. Master's Division
championships than any other couple, will teach a weekly Cardio Swing class, at Crunch
Fitness, NYC, kicking off their 2000 Broadway Series. Cardio Swing makes it fun to get your
heart in shape - taking participants on a journey back in time with Big Bang swing from the
1940s to the present, including music from the original cast album of Swing! A place in
the class is being saved for David Letterman, who is going to learn he now must exercise on a
J'ADORE the new perfume by
Christine Dior was launched with a NYC party reportedly costing over $750,000. Guests
including Rosie Perez and Billy Zane were showered with gold confetti.
THE KISSING SHOW The
Smooch, The Peck, The Air Kiss, The Luscious Fusion of Souls: Over 80 photographs including
Helmut Newton, Annie Liebowitz, Larry Silver, and Matthew Rolston. Stamper Photography
Gallery, Kansas City, Mo. An opening night reception was held last Friday night. Viewing by
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL in
Utah had some movie buffs waiting in line for more than 16 hours when tickets went on sale to
Utah residents. The rest of the world can buy tickets beginning Monday, Jan 17.
MADONNA who was going to
sing American Pie at a Super Bowl party in Atlanta, Ga. on Jan 20, backed out in less
time than it would have taken her to sing the five minute version of Don McLean's
BBC in Las Vegas filming a
documentary on Buddy Greco who is celebrating his 50th anniversary as a Vegas
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Next Column: January 23, 2000
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