Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: January 22, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Everyone loves a goodie bag - including dignitaries attending the Inaugural luncheon.

America has artisans which are important, talented and uniquely sensitive to America. Several were asked to provide attendee gifts which no doubt will be treasured until their death and then possibly put on E-bay by their heirs. Like it or not, that's one of the ways historical art is handed down.

Items in the Inaugural goodie bag included:

A note card set which features original pencil drawings of the United States Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court of the United States by noted St. Louis, Missouri, artist L. Edward Fisher. Born in 1938 he is known for his works regarding American history.

The three images represent the meeting of the three branches of the federal government on Inauguration Day in the uniquely American tradition of the peaceful transition of power.

Jon and Debbie Ortmann. Photo: Ortmann Woodcraft.
The accompanying pen and letter opener were handcrafted from Missouri walnut by Jon and Debbie Ortmann of Ortmann Woodcraft. Much of the wood used for their products comes from fallen trees on local farms in and around Cape Girardau, Missouri.

The desk plate was crafted by Annieglass based out of California. Annieglass is renowned worldwide for its craftsmanship and is uniquely handmade in Watsonville, California. Founded by Annie Morhauser in 1983, two pieces of the Annieglass Collection are part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Annie Morhauser fell in love with the beauty of glass when she first saw it being blown by an artisan at the beach under a full moon over 30 years ago. She graduated from California College of the Arts with training in a range of glass techniques, but it was developing her own version of the ancient glass forming process, called slumping, in the '80s that marked the beginning of Annieglass.

Annie Morhauser founder and chief designer of Annieglass. Photo: Annieglass.
From kiln to table, Annieglass is called "a testament to the lasting beauty of American craft. Imaginatively designed and innovatively created by artist/owner Annie Morhauser and her team of artisans, Annieglass' fresh, contemporary collections of richly textured glass dinnerware, serveware and gifts compliment all styles and transform every day into a celebration. Sustainably handcrafted on California’s central coast, Annieglass glassware is durable, dishwasher safe and engraved with a studio signature for authenticity."

In 2013 she celebrated thirty years as a mass producer—by hand—of sculptural glassware. The Annieglass studio, originally 400 square feet, is now a manufacturing facility of more than 15,000 square feet. Thirty full-time employees handcraft more than 100,000 plates, bowls, serving dishes, and decorative accessories annually. In 1993, Annie launched a retail store in downtown Santa Cruz, offering all of the Annieglass collections as well as flatware, stemware, candlesticks, serving pieces, vases, and jewelry by other well-known craft artists.

For the approximate 200 guests including the new President, Vice President, members of their families, the Supreme Court, Cabinet designees, and members of Congressional leadership who attended the luncheon in Statuary Hall. at the U.S. Capitol, one of the first things seen was a painting.

As chairman, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee, selects a work of art to be displayed during the luncheon. He selected George Caleb Bingham’s Verdict of the People, an oil painting from the American art gallery at the Saint Louis Museum of Art.

The Verdict of the People is an 1854 painting by George Caleb Bingham, who was a Missouri artist and politician.
Verdict of the People (1854-55) is one of three works by the Missouri artist that comprise the Election Series, presenting the course of democratic elections from public debate between candidates, to the voting process, to the announcement of election. Bingham wanted to visually record the cultural tensions at play in American democracy in the 1850s.

During that period of time, after Election Day, it often took days to compile the votes. The results were publicly announced at the courthouse, and crowds gathered to hear the “Verdict of the People.”

According to the official release, "This painting depicts a chaotic street scene just as a clerk calls out the election results. Bingham’s electorate is one of inclusiveness. Everyone is here – the well-to-do farmers, laborers, merchants, westerners, kids, politicians, immigrants, veterans, women, and African-Americans. They are elated, dejected, confounded, argumentative, jovial, and intensely serious."

The painting was on display in National Statuary Hall only during the luncheon. Then it was returned to the Saint Louis Art Museum.

In addition to the attendees taking home official souvenirs, it is traditional for the President and Vice President to be presented with gifts by the Congress on behalf of the American people.

The President and Vice President each were presented with a framed official photograph taken of their swearing in ceremony by a Senate photographer, as well as flags flown over the U.S. Capitol during the Inaugural Ceremonies.

Committee chairman Blunt also presented engraved crystal gifts on behalf of the American people.

Lenox crystal bowls for the Presidentand Vice-President. Photo: Lenox.
The inaugural presentation marked the eighth consecutive inaugural partnership with Lenox, the oldest maker of crystal and fine china in the US, which has now made gifts for the last five sets of US presidents and vice presidents.

But the company’s White House relationship goes back to 1918, when president Woodrow Wilson commissioned the company to make exclusive dinnerware for the White House. Lenox has now been the provider of fine china to the White House for 99 years, as well as the Vice President’s residence and a number of embassies and governors’ mansions.

The tradition of handing out gifts made by Lenox began with George H.W. Bush’s presidential inauguration in 1989. Ronald Reagan’s inaugural gift was designed by Steuben Glass.

For each Inauguration, the Lenox team of experts worked for more than 100 hours over five months to create a gift that encapsulates the spirit of the American people and the new presidency.

Trump and Pence received two of the largest and most elaborate inaugural gifts Lenox has made to date, says Timothy Carder, vice president of design at Lenox.

Master class cutter Peter O’Rourke working on a bowl. Photo: Lenox.
The Presidential crystal bowl shows an image of the White House on one side overlooking the Jefferson Memorial on the opposite side. The Vice Presidential crystal bowl depicts the U.S. Capitol building overlooking the Lincoln Memorial on the other side.

Each bowl has a compass rose cut into the base with the points of the compass aligned correctly with the buildings etched into the crystal. The bowls are made of lead crystal and are 12 inches across.

Retired Lenox glass-cutter Peter O’Rourke, a master glass cutter, worked with Carder to create the designs. O'Rourke is commissioned every four years to hand-cut each piece. Unlike Lenox’s first gift bowl for Bush, Trump’s is straight-sided (instead of spherical), set on a black cherry wood base (instead of a crystal base), and has a compass rose etched on the bottom - which was a first.

During the luncheon musical selections were provided by the Smithsonian Chamber Players.

About that three-course inaugural luncheon. Cooking is also an art form.

Caterer Bill Homan, whose company Design Cuisine won the bid to host the lunch. "We were asked to keep it more George Washington-esque," he said.

Recipes for all the rich dishes were released.

First Course: Maine Lobster and Gulf Shrimp with Saffron Sauce a

nd Peanut Crumble served with J. Lohr 2013 Arroyo Vista Chardonnay

Second Course: Grilled Seven Hills Angus Beef with Dark Chocolate and Juniper Jus and Potato Gratin Delicato Black Stallion 2012 Limited Release, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Third Course Chocolate Soufflé with Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream Korbel Natural, “Special Inaugural Cuvee” California.

One of the recipes, which actually includes cereal, seems general public easy enough to prepare:

Peanut Crumble Ingredients:
1/2 cup Virginia peanuts, chopped, salted & roasted
1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds, chopped toasted
1/2 cup Rice cereal
1/2 cup Hickory syrup
2 T Vegetable oil
1/2 t Cayenne pepper
1 t Vanilla powder
Directions: - Pre-heat oven to 275°F. - Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. - Spread crumble over a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake in oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crispy. - Let cool down and break crumble into peanut size pieces - Keep covered in a dry and cool place.

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Josef Frank circa 1960.
Explore the work of designer and artist Josef Frank (1885-1967) in the first-ever UK exhibition of his textiles.

The Austrian-born architect moved to Sweden in 1933, where he developed his colorful brand of modernism, working with Estrid Ericson on furniture, glassware, lighting and interior design ideas. Together they redefined what is regarded as Swedish Modern.

Frank dealt early on with public housing and housing estates. Together with Oskar Strand, he created the Vienna School of Architecture, and its concept of Modern houses, housing and interiors. He was the most prestigious designer in the Stockholm design company Svenskt Tenn (Swedish Pewter).

Contrary to most other architects of the interwar period in Vienna, he took the idea of settlement and not the creation of so-called super blocks in the municipal housing. He also rejected facade decor and clearly preferred functional forms. The Viennese architect and furniture designer.

In addition to his architectural work he created numerous designs for furniture, furnishings, fabrics, wallpaper and carpet. He had been a painter, as well.

This exhibition in association with Millesgården, Stockholm highlights Frank’s vibrant fabric designs for Svenskt Tenn alongside a number of his previously unknown watercolors.

The first exhibit of his textiles takes place January 28 - May 7, 2017 at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, England.


TYLER PERRY receiving the humanitarian award at the People's Choice Awards is well deserved.

“Perry was chosen as this year’s honoree in recognition of his efforts to change lives all over the world for the better,” the People’s Choice Awards said in a statement. “With the help of the Tyler Perry Foundation he has donated millions of dollars to organizations such as Feeding America, the NAACP, Charity Water, among others, all in effort to help eradicate homelessness, support civil rights causes and aid survivors of devastating natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina.”

The actor, producer, director, author, screenwriter, playwright and humanitarian has a long history of quietly helping others.

On July 20, 2009, Perry sponsored 65 children from a Philadelphia day camp to visit Walt Disney World, after reading that a suburban swim club, the Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, had shunned them. He wrote on his website, "I want them to know that for every act of evil that a few people will throw at you, there are millions more who will do something kind for them."

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a sponsor of the awards show, will be donating $100,000 to Perry’s charity of choice, the Global Medical Relief Fund for Children.


Melania Trump attended her husband's inauguration in a stunning Ralph Lauren creation. Photo: Ivanka twitter post.
You can't go wrong with Ralph Lauren. The designer was even the first sponsor of Downton Abbey. When Lauren Bush, the granddaughter of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush married his son David, the father of the groom - a family member position which is usually told to just stay out of the way - designed her wedding gown.

In 1974 he outfitted the male cast of The Great Gatsby in costumes from his Polo line - a 1920s-style series of men's suits and sweaters, except for the pink suit which Lauren designed especially for Robert Redford’s Jay Gatsby. In 1977, Diane Keaton and Woody Allen wore Lauren’s clothes throughout their Oscar-winning film, Annie Hall

Bronx-born designer Lauren is also no stranger to dressing First Ladies having previously designed for Mrs. Obama, Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford.

His trademark fashion statement is dignified and elegant.

He was selected to dress Melania Trump for Inauguration day events.

The Ralph Lauren Corp. issued the following statement: “The Presidential Inauguration is a time for the United States to look our best to the world. It was important to us to uphold and celebrate the tradition of creating iconic American style for this moment.”

Ralph Lauren did just that.

It was his design - a cashmere, knee length dress with a mock turtle neck, and matching three-quarter sleeve, short geometric jacket and collar - that First Lady Melania Trump wore so well at her husband's inauguration. More importantly, it's a design that most women - regardless of age or body type - petite to plus size - could also wear so well. That's a hallmark of Lauren.

While FLOTUS looked lovely in the powder-blue ensemble with matching heels and suede gloves, that outfit should be manufactured, in an public affordable version, in a variety of colors. Simply stunning.

It's not the first time she's been a knockout in Lauren. She wore a white Lauren jumpsuit on election night.

For the three official inaugural balls last Friday night, the newly minted First Lady wore a thigh-high silt, Grecian inspired gown, accessorized with a delicate red belt and statement making sculptural ruffle she reportedly helped design with Herve Pierre, former creative director of Carolina Herrera.

The strapless, silk gown looked stunning on her - but it is a gown that shouldn't be worn by just everybody.

The rest of the stylish female members of the Trump clan also looked elegant.

Ivanka even went to extra lengths in order to attend the Friday night events.

Ivanka converted to Orthodox Judaism before her marriage to Jared. The Jerusalem Post reported that the couple received rabbinic permission to travel by car on Friday evening following the inauguration, making it possible for them to attend the inaugural balls.

According to the newspaper, Jewish law states that driving or riding in cars is prohibited on the Sabbath; however, the Hebrew principle pikuach nefesh, or protection of life, overrides the rule in life-threatening situations.

The publication printed that Mark Zell, chair of the Republican Party in Israel, stated during an interview with Kol Barama radio that the couple was been granted special permission by a rabbi to use a vehicle because of 'safety' concerns.

Ivanka was breathtaking in a sparkling, champagne gown with jeweled sleeves and bodice and a bell-shaped skirt, embellished with crystals by Herrera. Trump's youngest daughter, Tiffany, selected a light metallic pink number by Simon Couture. As first reported by Hollywood Life, her mother, Marla Maples - President Trump's second wife - was also in attendance, gowned in white.

Eric Trump's wife Lara and Donald's Jr's wife Vanessa - both beautiful women - also wore metallic in shades of silver and gold with modified mermaid silhouettes.

Trump key player Kellyanne Conway gave notice she is fashion fearless.
Son Eric said that his mother Ivana, Trump's first wife who is also the mother of Ivanka and Don, Jr., would be in Washington, DC for all of the festivities, but there were no immediate sighting reports.

Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, showed fashion style and a loyalty to her hometown. She selected a colorful blue number from what was called "a small shop called Something Wonderful in Broad Ripple, Ind."

In a related inaugural fashion event: there was the fashion fearless Kellyanne Conway, the 50-year-old Trump advisor, who somehow was let out of the house, wearing a $3,600 double-breasted red, white and blue Gucci, A-line coat with two rows of cat-head buttons and a red cloche hat.

Some openly thought she was trying to invoke the American Revolution. She called it "Trump Revolution Wear."

Others thought she looked like a nutcracker.

Personally, I thought it might be how ticket takers would dress if Epcot ever decides to erect a fake Buckingham Palace.

As for the men - Former President George W. Bush attended the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural ball where he wore - of course - his cowboy boots.


MICHAEL FLATLEY of Riverdance fame first got sued and then danced at one of President Trump's inaugural balls.

Last Thursday, January 19, 2017, Flatley was sued in New York Supreme Court for breach of contract over “$42,246.56 in fees and expenses for public relations and theatrical press agent services” by the highly respected Broadway firm O&M Co.

Cause of the lawsuit is the staging of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games which was billed as the dancer’s farewell show before retiring.

The production ran from November 2015 through January 2016 at the Lyric Theater in New York City.

Court papers explain: “Between approximately October 11, 2015 and January 2, 2016, Plaintiff sent Defendants invoices for Plaintiff’s remuneration and expenses as agreed upon for a total of approximately $42,246.56, no part of which has been paid.”

Irish dancer Flatley retired after performing in the show on St. Patrick’s Day 2016 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

On Friday, January 20, 2017 Flatley and his group danced at President Donald Trump’s Liberty Ball.

Flatley told the Irish Mirror: “We have performed for many presidents. It’s always a great honor to be asked.”

PAUL McCARTNEY filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan on January 18, 2017 against SONY/ATV music publishing over copyright ownership of songs he wrote with John Lennon as part of The Beatles.

In well publicized documentation the copyrights to over 200 Beatles songs were purchased by Michael Jackson in 1985. Following Jackson's death the copyright ownership was sold to Sony/ATV.

McCartney has made numerous attempts to regain the copyrights. The legal filing asserts he has sent notice to Sony/ATV declaring that he will claim them back under a provision of U.S.Under Copyright Act of 1976, stating that songs written before 1978 can return under the songwriter's property after 56 years.

The songs in question were composed between September 1962 and June 1971.

Under that provision, the first song eligible to be claimed back is Love Me Do, in October 2018. The rest of the catalog would follow in years after, ending in 2026.

The catalog is now estimated to be worth upwards of $2bn.

McCartney has filed the suit because he asserts he has not been able to get Sony to confirm they will transfer the copyrights under his name, according to the lawsuit. That documents elaborates that McCartney started sending notices to Sony/ATV in 2008, stating his desire to reclaim the copyrights to songs including Across the Universe, Love Me Do, and I Want to Hold Your Hand, the suit said.

McCartney has requested a court ruling to state that his claiming them doesn’t represent a legal breach of any contract or publishing agreement that Sony/ATV could use against him.

“Defendants have attempted to reserve their rights to challenge Paul McCartney’s exercise of his termination rights on contractual ground,” the filing says.

It adds, “A judicial declaration is necessary and appropriate at this time so that Paul McCartney can rely on quiet, unclouded title to his rights.”


CHINESE NEW YEAR 2017 IN LONDON celebrate the Year of the Rooster in London, with the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to wish each other "Xin Nian Kuai Le" (Happy New Year in Mandarin) or "San Nin Faai Lok" (in Cantonese).

The Chinese New Year festivities in Central London are free to attend and take place in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and across the West End.

Chinese New Year is a huge festival among Chinese communities in London and across the world. Based on the lunar and solar calendars, the actual date of Chinese New Year varies, but always falls between late January and mid-February. Each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese New Year 2017 falls on January 28, with the Trafalgar Square and Chinatown celebrations taking place the following day.

MOVEMENTS a new conversation series which will bring important global voices to the Irish Arts Center stage to add a current affairs dimension to cultural conversation.

Senator George Mitchell will be interview by acclaimed Irish writer Belinda McKeon, on Wednesday, January 25 in the Donaghy Theatre, Irish Arts Center in New York City.

A Democrat, Mitchell served as a United States Senator from Maine from 1980 to 1995 and as Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995.

Since retiring from the Senate, Mitchell has taken up a variety of positions in politics and business. He has taken a leading role in negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, being specifically appointed United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland (1995–2001) by President Clinton and as United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace (2009–2011) by President Obama. He was a primary architect of the 1996 Mitchell Principles and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

CHELSEA MANNING a former Army intelligence analyst who leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks has had her prison sentence commuted by President Obama. She will be releases on May 17.

Her arrest, trial and prison travails have been the subject of award winning plays. She was known as Bradley Manning at the time of her 2010 arrest and attempted suicide twice last year.

JANUARY 23 is National Rhubarb Pie Day. January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day, and January 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day.


This July 1932 election poster shows the German worker, enlightened through National Socialism, towering over his opponents. It reads “We Workers Have Awakened. We’re Voting National Socialist.” Image: US Holocaust Memorial Museum
The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 - the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau - as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the victims of the Nazi era and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.

Through March 5, the United Nations is hosting State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda. This powerful exhibition examines how the Nazis used propaganda to win broad voter support, implement radical programs, and justify war and mass murder. It emphasizes why the issue of propaganda matters and challenges citizens to actively question, analyze, and seek the truth.

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans is also staging State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda. It opens with a special event on January 26 and features reflections from a Holocaust survivor and a Museum educator. Visit the exhibition through June 18, 2017.

Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, an exhibition that explores the history of the early 20th century international eugenics movement. Photo: US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania is hosting Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, an exhibition that explores the history of the early 20th century international eugenics movement and the complicity of physicians and scientists in Nazi racial policies.

It is exhibited in partnership with the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust to present two special events on January 26 and 27 in conjunction with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, featuring Museum historian Patricia Heberer Rice.

The exhibition will be on display through March 14, 2017.

Several New York theatres are staging relevant productions. A sampling includes:

La Mama presents Golgotha, written by Shmuel Refael, adapted by Haim Idissis, translated by Howard Rypp, performed by Victor Attar, directed by Geula Jeffet-Attar January 26-29.

The production reveals, with a blend of acting, video and music, the under-recognized experience of Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jews who were sent to Auschwitz Birkenau. Victor Attar plays Albert Salvado, a Holocaust Survivor from Salonica, Greece, who recalls the atrocities of the camps as he prepares for his long awaited dream to come true: the honor of lighting the torch at the annual Holocaust commemoration ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The Holocaust lives on inside him like the devil playing hide and seek with his soul.

His intense guilt and pain make him question not only his right to light the torch but also his identity as a Sephardic Jew.

Through the Darkness by Alan C. Breindel presented by Worksop Theatre March 9-April 1 directed by Leslie Kincaid Burby, recounts the unimaginable journeys and true stories of four courageous men and women who left everything behind, including their loved ones, so that they might stay one step ahead of the Holocaust.

They are composite characters that playwright Breindel built from interviews with Holocaust survivors.

Three of the four characters managed to avoid the horrors of the concentration camps and remained free, even if freedom was no more than the right to die on their own terms. Chaos was inescapable, freedom was motion, and the only safe place was anyplace other than where they were. Each of the characters repeatedly come face to face with seemingly insurmountable obstacles to daily survival and show us that when life is vastly different, life is still livable.

Benghazi - Bergen-Belsen is a play by Lahav Timor, inspired by a novel by Yossi Sucary, translated from Hebrew by Inbal Timor and directed by Michal Gamily. Presented at La Mama March 23 TO April 9 in which an epic romance retrieves from oblivion the lost story of the Holocaust of North African Jews.

The novel by Yossi Sucary won the Brenner Prize and has been acclaimed for its role in dispelling denial about the Libyan Holocaust.

Silvana Haggiag is a brilliant and beautiful young woman in her early twenties, dismissive of the patriarchal norms that govern her Jewish community in the Libyan city of Benghazi. When Silvana’s family is violently uprooted from its home and homeland, she is taken along with other Libyan Jews through the blazing Sahara Desert and war driven Italy to freezing Germany.

In the long and tumultuous journey from her birth town to the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, navigating her family through horror and distress, Silvana is confronted with dire dilemmas and retrieves hidden strengths.

Away from her language, detached from any familiar ground, she is forced to cope with the terrors of a cruel and arbitrary humanity, and prevail.


THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS recently announced that grants totaling 30,885,500. 00 were recently awarded.

Several of the grants are for the development of specific stage productions which might be of special interest to readers of Broadway To Vegas. See NEA Performing Arts Grants

PLASTICITY written by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill.

Directed by Robert McCaskill.

Starring Alex Lyras.

A comatose man re-emerges into consciousness in a multilayered, multimedia theatrical event about the miraculous power of the brain to re-wire and heal itself.

Blending cutting-edge science with masterful storytelling, Plasticity takes the audience deep inside the mind of David Rosely, even as he lies in a coma. A hovering circle of doctors and loved ones, including David’s twin brother Grant, are all played by Lyras in an unusual solo performance: the actor not only creates multiple characters, but interacts with them on stage through the use of integrated projections.

The creative team includes video designer Corwin Evans; editor Peter Chakos; two time Grammy Award-nominated composer and sound designer Ken Rich; and set and lighting designer Matt Richter.

Lyras and McCaskill extensively researched the science of brain plasticity, conducting multiple interviews with doctors and scientists before committing the script to paper.

“The latest neuroscience informs the show's exploration of how the brain heals itself and ultimately creates the mind," Lyras says. “David’s attempts to piece together his consciousness as he emerges from the coma are represented visually, using multiple projectors to create 3D effects.”

The world premiere of Plasticity opens January 28, 2017 for an eight-week run at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Los Angeles.

EXPERIENCE by Dave Florez.

Directed by Tom Attenborough.

Dan has a troubling past and needs help to leave it behind. Amy is employed to support him, and she's determined to succeed by whatever means necessary...Dave Florez's new play is called " a stirring exploration of the moral implications of helping others - how far is too far?"

Starring Kirsty Besterman, Christian Cooke and Charlotte Lucas.

Performances through February 18 at Downstairs at the Hampstead Theatre in London.

LADIES IN BLACK book by Carolyn Burns, music and lyrics by Tim Finn. Based on Madeleine St John’s popular 1993 novel, The Women in Black.

Step back through the doors of F.G. Goode's department store and into a magical modern fairytale. The ladies in black are back for the summer sales.

Sydney, the late 1950s: the city swelters in stuffy repression, longing for the cool, glorious liberation just around the corner. Bright-eyed, bookish school leaver Lisa steps through the doors of the city’s most prestigious department store, F.G. Goodes. A world of unknown possibilities opens up as she befriends the colorful denizens of the Ladies Cocktail Frocks Department - including her new mentor, the exotic Magda, mysterious mistress of Model Gowns.

"With its irreverent humor and immense charm, Ladies in Black is a magical, modern-day fairy tale sure to leave you singing long after you leave the theatre."

January 28 - February 19, 2017 at the Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Queensland, Australia.


Directed by Peter DuBois.

Starring Emilia Fox.

"Look, I’m giving you another chance to show the world how talented you are. Take it. It’s worth the risk."

Olivia, an attractive and talented but underappreciated mid-career writer, is unexpectedly trapped overnight in a secluded, snowed-in B&B with Ethan, an equally attractive and wildly successful young blogger.

Her latest novel is an unsung masterpiece; his blog is being made into a movie. She prefers books; he prefers eBooks. She is anonymous; he has half a million Twitter followers. But opposites soon attract - passionately - as each realize they want more of what the other has. But the closer they get, the more they must confront the murky side of ambition, success and Wi-Fi.

January 27 - March 4, 2017 at the Hampstead Theatre, London.

HAMILTON the Chicago mounting at The Private Bank Theatre has welcomed Wayne Brady to the cast. The five time Emmy Award winner and Grammy nominee will play Aaron Burr through April 9.

Brady has appeared on Broadway in Chicago and Kinky Boots.


AUDRA McDONALD the six-time Tony Award winner returns to the stage in Scottsdale for a spectacular performance that will span the breadth of her songbook. McDonald will be joined by a very special guest - her husband, Tony-nominated Broadway star Will Swenson - during an evening hosted by the multi-talented Seth Rudetsky. Saturday, January 28, 2017 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Scottsdale, AZ.

WILLIE NELSON AND FAMILY will take over The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas for five nights January 28-February 4, 2017 with his new show, Vegas On My Mind.

KRISTIN CHENOWETH stars at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday, January 26. On Thursday the Tony Award winner can be enjoyed at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center in midland, TX. On Saturday her tour stops at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, TX.

LYLE LOVETT & JOHN HIATT entertain January 29, 2017 at the State Theatre of Ithaca in Ithaca, NY.

KINGS OF LEON performs Monday, January 23 at the United Center in Chicago. Wednesday' stop is at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, CO. On Friday they are on stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. On Saturday they are in the spotlight at the Forum in Inglewood, CA.


MIGUEL FERRER son of the late hit singer Rosemary Clooney and Academy Award winning actor Mel Ferrer, who came to fame himself as an actor and director, died in his home from throat cancer on January 19, 2017. He was 61.

Ferrer appeared in more than 40 movies and numerous TV roles, including NCIS: Los Angeles. Married twice, his first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife Lori Weintraub, sons Lukas and Rafi, sisters, Maria Ferrer, Monsita Ferrer; brothers, Gabriel, and Rafael; several cousins including actor George Clooney and his uncle, journalist Nick Clooney.

First cousin George Clooney released the following statement:

"Today history will mark giant changes in our world, and lost to most will be that on the same day Miguel Ferrer lost his battle to throat cancer. But not lost to his family. Miguel made the world brighter and funnier and his passing is felt so deeply in our family that events of the day, (monumental events), pale in comparison. We love you, Miguel. We always will."

ROBERTA PETERS opera star who sang for 35 years at the Metropolitan Opera died January 18, 2017 at her home in Rye, New York from Parkinson's disease. She was 86.

The coloratura soprano was dubbed "the American Nightingale." She sang over 500 performances during her storied career. Her professional debut November 17, 1950, proved memorable when she substituted for Nadine Conner, who had fallen ill. With no rehearsal at all, she stepped onto the stage at the Met, and a star was born. Peters sang as Zerlina - a notoriously difficult role - in Don Giovanni.

Peters also performed many times at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and at the San Francisco Opera, among many others.

On television she appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show a record 65 times.

Her second husband, Bertram Fields, died in 2010. She is survived by her two sons and four grandchildren.

Next Column: January 29, 2017
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