Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: July 17, 2005
By: Laura Deni


I'm Still Here is more than a showstopping number from Stephen Sondheim's Follies, the benchmark musical that pays tribute to the women who became Ziegfeld Follies singers and dancers.

"Good times and bum times,
I’ve seen them all and, my dear,
I’m still here.
Plush velvet sometimes,
Sometimes just pretzels and beer,
But I’m here."
I'm Still Here music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim © 1971 Rilting Music.

It's a testament to the tenacity of those who love performing and despite all the heartache, letdowns and putdowns still persevere.

“Who’s going to pay to see old ladies’ legs?” scoffed the critics when Palm Springs Follies founders Riff Markowitz, and Mary Jar broached the idea of such high kicks.

Leggy beauties of the Palm Springs Follies
Fifteen years later millions have gaped in jaw dropping amazement at the glamorous gams on the glorious broads - all of which happen to be over 55 and some are in their 80s

A Palm Springs Follies chorus girl audition would leave many young enough to be grandchildren panting.

Leggy hopefuls strutting their stuff at the most recent audition, which took place last month, were told: You will need to bring sheet music, CD or a cassette. A pianist, tape recorder and CD player will be provided. You may be asked to stay for the afternoon dance audition. In preparation for being asked to stay for the dance audition, please bring tap shoes, shoes that are comfortable to learn a jazz routine in and comfortable dancewear. Ladies should also bring a pair of heels, a leotard and tights.

You are allowed to sing one song under 3 minutes in length.

If you are attending the dance audition you will need to bring tap shoes, something comfortable to learn a jazz routine in, and if you are female, a pair of heels. Ladies should wear a leotard and tights ONLY.

Palm Springs Follies a three-hour, razzle-dazzle, song and dance vaudeville-style extravaganza showcasing the music and dance of the 30s and 40s with one amazing difference - each of the cast members is from 56 to 87 years young!
Those who make the cut are informed: The performance season is from November through the end of May. There are 7 to 9 shows a week. There are 2 days off a week, but you may be required to work on one of those days. The rehearsal period begins the last week of August. In addition you are required to come to Palm Springs for fittings once in June and once in August prior to the rehearsal period. Rehearsals are five days a week, though you may be required to work a 6th day during this time.

Accommodations are provided and "Nevada wages paid."

Joining the chorus line is former Las Vegas showgirl Reta Rose who began her professional career with Donald O'Conner at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas and - as a Moro Landis dancer - appeared with such stars as Andy Williams, Martha Raye, Mitzi Gaynor and Jimmy Durante.

She next joined the Radio City Rockettes in New York for two years then had a two-year stint in New York’s Latin Quarter. In 1996, she started her acting career and has now appeared in numerous television commercials; on such series as Ally McBeal, The Single Guy, ER and Murder One; and had parts in nine major motion pictures.

Rose joins a chorus line composed of;

Natasha Ahlborn, 69, was born and raised in Berlin, Germany where she began her training in classical ballet. After World War II, she started dancing professionally in opera houses throughout Europe.

She soon moved into show dancing where she was featured in the Folies Bergere and the Lido in Paris, as well as the Casino de Paris in Las Vegas.

Judy Bell
Judy Bell, 67, has enjoyed an impressive career spanning over 40 years. The Judy Bell Show, her own musical and comedy revue, was featured at the MGM Hotels in Reno and Las Vegas;at Harrah’s Hotels in Lake Tahoe and Reno; the Flamingo, Sahara and Frontier hotels in Las Vegas.

Leila Burgess, 69, Company Dance Manager and Creative Consultant, is returning for her thirteenth season at the Plaza Theatre. She learned her moves at New York's High School of Performing Arts. Burgess was the managing director of Latin Quarter Showgirls West and produced three Latin Quarter revivals from 1989-1992, all the proceeds of which went to abused and missing children’s charities.

Jill Gordon, 61, Follies Dance Captain, returns for her eighth season as a Long-Legged Lovely. Her career began as a Moro Landis chorus dancer touring Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Glenda Guilfoyle, 71, started dancing professionally at age 17 as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette

She’s appeared on the Andy Williams, Glen Campbell and Dean Martin television shows, and spent a season on The Carol Burnett Show. In 1976, she began a 12-year professional relationship with Mac Davis, traveling the world dancing and singing. She also appeared in his numerous television specials.

Dorothy Kloss (nee Dale), 81, has been dancing non-stop since she was three-years old. After only a short time at the famed Merriel Abbot Dance Studio, she began dancing professionally at the prestigious Empire Room of Chicago's Palmer House Hotel.

She appeared for two years in Don Arden's Moulin Rouge in Hollywood and was handpicked by Walt Disney to perform in Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Revue. She also appeared in such Warner Bros. films as Robin and the Seven Hoods with Frank Sinatra and The Music Man. Glenda’s television experience includes specials with Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante, Rosemary Clooney, and Andy Griffith.

Jill Owens, 62, is now in her sixth season as a Follies Long-Legged Lovely. Her career began as a June Taylor Dancer on the Jackie Gleason Show.

On Broadway, she was in No, No Nanette (with Ruby Keeler), Pippin (with Ben Vereen), and Tip Toes.

She has performed as a Bob Fosse Dancer and a Radio City Rockette, and her film credits include Pennies from Heaven, Ritzville and playing Hector Elizondo’s wife in Young Doctors in Love.

Angela Paige as a Las Vegas Minsky showgirl
Angela Paige, 73, toured the United States, Canada and Australia as a showgirl and exotic dancer. With her stage name, “Angela D’Orsay,” she spent several years appearing in major Las Vegas shows for Minsky at both the Dunes and Frontier Hotels.

Angela has appeared as a dancer with Donald O’Connor and Mickey Rooney.

Trina Parks, 58, returns to the Follies this year for her second season. Born in Brooklyn, she attended New York’s famed High School of Performing Arts and the Katherine Dunham School of Dance.

She appeared in the role of “Thumper” in the James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever - as the first African American Bond Girl - and starred in the motion pictures Darktown Strutters and The Muthers.

As principal dancer with the Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey, Anna Sokolow and Geoffrey Holder dance companies, she has toured the world and continues to teach master classes in both the Dunham and (Martha) Graham technique.

This season the Palm Beach Follies celebrates their fifteenth birthday with a good, old-fashioned, yearlong party.

New costumes, all new sets and all new “old” music, the Follies newest edition will offer a salute to Broadway, recreate a South Pacific USO Show, present the Follies signature “Pretty Girl” spectacle and offer one “new” and one returning international variety act.

The Four Coins
Making her Follies debut, from The Tonight Show and Las Vegas showrooms, will be comic impressionist, Janice Hart. And what would a party be without doggies? From Chile, the Follies' all-time favorite dog act, Olate's Canine Capers.

Also, their world-renown guest stars include - Anacani - A musical star in both Mexico and the U.S., this talented songstress first gained fame as a regular on The Lawrence Welk Show.

The Four Coins - A ‘50s vocal group with all the original members! Their huge 1957 hit of Shangri-La sold a million copies and earned them a Gold Record.

Jo Ann Castle - One of the finest ragtime and honky-tonk pianists in the world, she also first came to fame on The Lawrence Welk Show. All this begins November 1, and runs through May 21, 2006. Palm Springs, CA.


Jim Dale in Barnum
It doesn't matter that he's been lauded by Queen Elizabeth and won a Tony Award. It's his voice as the Harry Potter characters that gets him recognized when he takes his grandchildren to McDonald's for a hamburger.

He couldn't be more pleased.

Jim Dale, who starred on Broadway in Barnum, once again is the voice of the Harry Potter audio books - part of the Random House Inc.'s Listening Library.

Dale first came to American attention when he created the flamboyant title role in the now world famous Cy Coleman musical Barnum. For his part in the 1981 musical, directed by Joe Layton at the St. James Theatre, Jim received forty seven rave reviews, the Tony Award, the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award.

His numerous theatrical credits include portraying Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1993 production of A Christmas Carol at the Theater at Madison Square Garden - which was the final staging of the annual show at the 5,000 seat house in New York City.

But it is Harry Potter that turned his versatile voice into worldwide household superstardom.

The British stage and screen actor has a distinctive voice for each of the 200 characters created in J.K. Rowling's magical world. Jim uses his own voice to capture Harry.

Dale has provided the voice for the audio recordings of all Harry Potter books - which earned him a 2001 Grammy Award for Best Children's Audio Book and a Guinness World Record having created and recorded 255,000 words with 134 individual voiced characters in less than 3 months for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

In 2003 Dale was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth.

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Experts in arts education from the renowned Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education in New York City will travel to Independence, Kansas to conduct a workshop July 23-24, presented by the William Inge Center for the Arts sponsored by a grant from the Dana Foundation of New York City.

Titled “An Immersion in Aesthetic Education,” the introductory course is for teaching artists and classroom teachers to learn ways to use works of art and aesthetic education practices in teaching.

The workshop leaders are Cathryn Williams, Deputy Director and full-time teaching artists, Judith Hill, and Patricia Chilsen, all master teachers from the Lincoln Center Institute. Workshop participants will see theater and music performances, which the Lincoln Center staff will incorporate into how Aesthetic Education balances between philosophy, practice, activity and reflection to support learning across the curriculum.

A free public performance of music and theater selections that are part of a Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education seminar is offered Saturday, July 23.

Layin’ Off the Lizard-Boy,by Richard Hellesen. is set in the slightly bizarre world of a circus sideshow trailer, where Mose, the side show owner, Elna, his 600 pound wife and Bobby, one of his main attractions, are forced to deal with a changing world. Full of humor, pathos and insight, this 20-minute play has wowed audiences from coast to coast. Actors are Joseph Gomez, Jon Sidoli, and Lois Lessman, under the direction of Inge Center Artistic Director, Peter Ellenstein.

The performance also includes Eric Ewazen’s Trio for Trumpet, Violin, and Piano, with Dr. Andrew Trechak, piano; Nancy Luttrell, violin; and Richard Tirk, on trumpet. Tirk is also the musical director.

“The Inge Center is pleased to be a valuable resource in helping to train more and more arts education practitioners and advocates,” said Ellenstein. “We are thrilled that the grant from the Dana Foundation will help the Inge Center to bring nationally known trainers and teaching artists to share their skills with local and regional teaching artists, teachers, and artists.”

Founded in 1975, Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) is the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. and is the model for 25 associated programs across the U.S. and abroad. The Institute’s approach is rooted in firsthand experience and engagement with the arts. More than exposure to performance alone, LCI’s method provides study, inquiry, and direct contact with the creative process, and is designed to stimulate critical thinking and perceptual abilities that serve students in all fields of learning beyond the arts. Through partnerships with pre-K through grade twelve educators in New York City and nationally, LCI reaches a constituency that has since 2004 comprised 205,000 children, 3,300 teachers, 100 higher education faculty, and 3,600 teacher candidates annually.

Since its inception, the Lincoln Center Institute has served more than 2.7 million students and some 50,000 educators. The Institute provides numerous professional development opportunities in an approach based on the writings of such innovators as John Dewey and Maxine Greene.

The William Inge Center for the Arts, located at Independence Community College, sponsors year-round programming in youth arts education, play development, and playwriting. The Inge Center is funded in part by grants from the Kansas Arts Commission, the Kansas Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

It is named for the late Pulitzer Prize (Picnic) and Oscar winning (Splendor in the Grass) writer William Inge, a native of Independence.

REMEMBERING THE '60S Love, Janis musical director and Joplin band mate Sam Andrew and rock and roll photographer Don Aters share a slice of music history. Telling stories only they can tell, each offers a rare insight into the sights and sounds of the amazing ‘60s.

July 23 at the River Bend Winery in Louisville, Kentucky. Love, Janis the hit musical about the life, soul and music of legendary '60s rock icon Janis Joplin, opens August 16 at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.

a three day screening - July 22, 24 and 24 - at The Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Liberian Civil War Documentary: The Love of Liberty.

To commemorate Liberia’s Independence July 26, 1847. Actor's Theatre of Charlotte presents the documentary to educate and create social awareness about the importance of this historic West African Nation. The film provides an unprecedented forum to discuss issues created over the past 20+ years by and in civil war ravaged Liberia.

The theatre stresses;"The global impact and political ramifications on US/Africa relations cannot be ignored!"

"There are Liberians living all over the world and the US specifically. Locally, statistics show that there are approximately 40,000 Liberians currently residing in Charlotte Metro Region."

Democratic Elections In Liberia Are Scheduled For October 2005.

On Friday, July 22, a VIP Reception will precede the viewing, which will be followed by a Q&A.

The reception will include: Traditional food & drink, music & performances, art exhibit meet the producers, community and leaders.

The 2005-2006 season will mark the 17th anniversary of The Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte producing new and innovative professional theatre in Charlotte. It is the mission of Actor’s Theatre to present bold and innovative new works by contemporary playwrights. Last year they moved into a brand new facility and this season they expand their repertoire to 6 new plays from Broadway, Off-Broadway and Regional Theatre.

Their season begins August 31 with Polish Joke

Dan Shoemaker is Executive Artistic Director and Chip Decker serves as Producing Artistic Director. Actor's Theatre Charlotte is supported by the annual fund drive of the Arts & Science Council - Charlotte Mecklenburg, Inc. and the Grass Roots Arts Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.


celebrated in the unique spirit and style of Argentina.

A night of sumptuous feasts, sultry dancing and sizzling entertainment.

Performances by dancers from the Broadway Cast of Forever Tango.

Songs by Anne Runolffson and the Broadway Gypsies.

Live “Fantasy” Auction with special guest auctioneers will include a diamond bracelet watch from Harry Winston valued at $44,300.

Saturday, July 23.

Siena Spirituality Center, Water Mill, NY.

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS stages a special performance to benefit The Actors Fund on Sunday, July 24 at the Imperial Theatre in New York City:

Starring John Lithgow, Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz who won a Tony for this role in this show. The cast also features Joanna Gleason, Gregory Jbara, Sara Gettelfinger, Sheri Rene Scott, Timothy J. Alex, Andrew Asnes, Roxane Barlow, Stephen Campanella, Joe Cassidy, Julie Conners, Jeremy Davis, Rachel deBenedet, Laura Marie Duncan, Sally Mae Dunn, Rick Faugno, Tom Galantich, Jason Gillman, Nina Goldman, Greg Graham, Amy Heggins, Grasan Kingsberry, Gina Lamparella, Michael Paternostro, Rachelle Rak.


ALAN SORKIN has finished a new play, commissioned from Dublin's Abbey Theatre called The Farnsworth Invention. It's the true story of Philo Farnsworth called "the other inventor of television." and his struggles with one of the pioneers of radio who could see what the invention would do to his business.

Formerly titled Scott & Zelda.

Before Elvis and Priscilla, Sonny and Cher, Elizabeth Taylor and Whomever, there was F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald - prototypes for beauty and talent, spin and narcissism. Theirs was a reckless world of Speakeasies and Jazz, with money-to-burn on champagne smuggled in from abroad and enough indiscretion to make the National Enquirer drool with envy.

From the Frank Wildhorn, composer of Jekyll and Hyde and Jack Murphy, lyricist of Civil War, comes a new musical that has enough dancing to make you swing, singing to make you cry, and heart to make your whole world come alive.

Starring Tony Award winner Jarrod Emick and Lauren Kennedy.

Music by Frank Wildhorn. Book and lyrics by Jack Murray.

Directed by Vincent Marini. Musical Director Ron Melrose. Choreographer is Andy Blankenbuehler. Orchestrator Kim Scharnberg.

Scenic Design by Rob Odorisio. Lighting Design by Howell Binkley Costume Design by Janine McCabe.

The Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in Marlton, NJ. World premiere July 17 - July 31.

AVENUE Q which opens in Las Vegas at the Wynn Hotel will feature John Tartaglia, who played Princeton, Rod and other puppet characters in the original New York production. The Tony Award-winning musical begins previews in Vegas on August 27.

SAVIOR a new play by Daniel R. O’Brien will begin performances July 19 as part of the sixth annual Midtown International Theatre Festival in NYC at the Workshop Theatre. Directed by Christopher Carter Sanderson, Savior will feature Jeff Barry, Hilary Howard and Jy Murphy.

Set in downtown Manhattan, Savior focuses on a contemporary family. Patrick (Jy Murphy) is in a bind: his wife Katie (Hilary Howard) wants kids, and his alcoholic movie star brother Kevin (Jeff Barry) wants the truth about their childhood.

returns to San Francisco - August 4 - September 11 at the Orpheum Theatre.

San Francisco's Curran Theatre was home to the Spring 2003 out-of-town trial of the musical Wicked. Now it returns to the sister theatre, the Orpheum.

From August 5th to September 11th, Eden Espinosa will return to the role of Elphaba in the national tour of Wicked. The star, who recently played a leading role in Brooklyn, will temporarily replace Stephanie J. Block during the San Francisco stretch of the tour.

Block (The Boy from Oz) is playing a limited schedule of performances on doctors' orders. Earlier this year, Block was injured during Wicked dress rehearsals, shortly before the tour kicked off in Toronto. She is tentatively scheduled to return to Wicked on September 16th, when the tour blows into Denver.

Espinosa, who was nominated for a 2005 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance for playing the title role in Brooklyn, previously stood by as Elphaba on Broadway, going on for Idina Menzel numerous times.

PHILADELPHIA, HERE IN COME! by Brian Friel. Directed by Ciaran O'Reilly.

A touching comedy about a young Irishman, Gar O'Donnell, preparing to leave home and hearth to seek his fortune in the city of the title, it illustrates the tensions in the heart and mind of the sensitive central character by presenting his public and private selves as separate beings, played by two actors - one who is the Public Gar and another who speaks the characters thoughts, the Private Gar.

The cast includes; Paddy Croft, Michael Fitzgerald, James Kennedy, Edwin Owens, James Stevens, Tessa Klein, Gil Rogers, Helena Carroll, John Leighton, Geddeth Smith, Tim Ruddy, Joe Berlangero, Darren Connolly, Leo Leyden.

Sets by David Raphel. Lighting by Brian Nason. Costumes by David Toser. Sound by Murmod, Inc. Opens Thursday at The Irish Repertory Theater in NYC.

LESSONS a new play by Wendy Graf starring Mare Winningham and Hal Linden. Directed by Adam Davidson.

Lessons is a play about Ben, who finally decides to have a Bar Mitzvah, and Ruth, the woman he's hired to tutor him, a former Rabbi who's lost her faith.

Through their developing relationship, each searches for healing and forgiveness as they wrestle with their own deep rooted secrets.

Lessons will preview on Tuesday, July 26; Wednesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 28 and will open on Friday, July 29 and run through Saturday, August 27 in the Marilyn Monroe Theatre at the Lee Strasberg Institute, in West Hollywood.

DISNEY'S ON THE RECORD 64 of Disney's most extraordinary songs from the best Disney movies of all time including;The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White, Tarzan, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast.

On the Record plays July 19-31 in The Buell Theatre in Denver.

A Fantasy About Destiny by J.M. Barrie.

Directed by Gregory Boyd.

Midsummer's Eve finds a group of strangers invited to an isolated English country manor. Why have they been invited, who is their strange, childlike host, and what do they have in common? The answers lie in the mysterious woods that appear for just one night each year. Inside the forest the guests are offered the opportunity to walk down the paths in life that they regret not following. What will they make of their second chances?

Through July 24 at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, CT.


ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE IMPOSTERS perform July 20th at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia.

BUDDY GRECO the former Las Vegas resident performs his show From Philly to MacArthur Park at the Iridium club in New York in a four night gig beginning July 21.

VIOLINIST JOSHUA BELL AND FREDERIC CHIN ON PIANO Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell has been captivating audiences around the globe for more than 20 years. Known for his poetic musicality, Joshua came to national attention at age 14 with his highly acclaimed orchestral debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. His recent recording,Romance of the Violin, features the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields conducted by Michael Stern. The album topped the Billboard classical charts and the repertoire was featured on the PBS special Live from Lincoln Center: Joshua Bell at the Penthouse, which will be released on DVD by Sony.

Saturday, July 23 Festival Tent, Butter Lane, Bridgehampton, N.Y. Part of The Music Festival of the Hamptons.

U2 performs Monday, July 18 at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich, Switzerland. On Wednesday they open a two nighter at the San Siro in Milan, Italy and on Saturday they can be enjoyed at the Olimpico Stadium in Rome.

MICHAEL BUBLE on stage this evening, July 17, at the Palace Theatre in Louisville, KY. On Tuesday the show is at Symphony Hall in Atlanta, GA. Wednesday he's in Florida for the rest of the week. On Wednesday he's in the spotlight at the Moran Theatre in Jacksonville. On Friday he's performing at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa, and Saturday the place is the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale.

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY open a two night stand Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.

SHELBY LYNN performs Monday, July 18, at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandra, VA.

JOHN MELLENDCAMP AND JOHN FOGERTY on stage Tuesday, July 19, at the Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge in Bristow, VA.

Next Column: July 24, 2005
Copyright: July 17, 2005. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.
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Laura Deni