Broadway To Vegas


Copyright June 15, 1998
By: Laura Deni


The revival of 1776, at The Gershwin Theater, closed after 333 performances and 34 previews. It's too bad the magnificent revival was forced to shutter, especially with The 4th of July approaching.

The Tony nominated revival was not only a glorious production, but put life into what some people think is a dull subject - history.

Composer/lyricist Sherman Edwards was a former history teacher who wrote hit songs including; Wonderful, Wonderful, See You In September, Johnny Get Angry, and Broken Hearted Melody. His contribution to 1776 fused the best of his two worlds in this brilliant musical creation.

Congress Scene
Perhaps you weren't fortunate enough to see the revival. Or, perhaps you know somebody who was a poor student and never managed to develop enough smarts to comprehend that a good musical was on the boards.

Help that person try to redeem their failure by renting them the video.

It is a musical celebration of the founding of the United States.

It's a masterpiece that won a Tony in the original version, and prior to being reincarnated as a revival, went on to become a glorious movie.

LINDA EMOND as Abigail Adams
That celluloid wonder starred Williams Daniels as the tough, unyielding John Adams, Howard De Silva as the charming and pragmatic Benjamin Franklin and Ken Howard as the brilliant Thomas Jefferson who is chosen to write The Declaration of Independence.

He's got a bad case of writer's block because he's driven to distraction by sexual longings for his new bride, played by Blythe Danner. If it wasn't for John Adams taking some extreme measures to get Jefferson sexually satisfied, this country would still be part of the British Empire.

Meanwhile back home, Adams' wife is more than a little miffed that her husband will help Jefferson find companionship while she sits home with her own unrequited sexual needs.

Drunken, self serving immoral, politically corrupt men trying to serve their own ends by pretending to serve their constituency, have been the case since Jefferson forced himself to concentrate enough to put quill to paper.

Slavery was a divisive issue down to the eleventh hour. If you don't think every vote counts, pay attention to 1776. At the last moment barely enough good representation surfaces to create what the 4th of July commemorates.


Some people prefer to rub a rabbit's foot for good luck. In the case of bad boy Dennis Rodman the colorful character is alleged to prefer rubbing the crap dealer's crotch.

At least those are the charges contained in a battery and emotional distress lawsuit filed in a Clark County (Las Vegas) District Court lawsuit by James Brasich, a 16 year employee of the Mirage Hotel. The 51-year old dealer is seeking $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Essentially the eccentric Rodman, who accompanied a friend who was gambling, is accused of giving his own definition to the words "blow job".

The suit claims that Rodman would blow on the dice and then rub them over Mr. Brasich's groin area "for luck" before rolling them. The Chicago Bulls' forward is also accused of repeatedly rubbing the dealers bald head and chest area -also "for luck."

Mistaking the dealer for a lucky charm resulted in Mr. Brasich claiming he has been taunted by fellow employees, including one female craps dealer who inquired if the crotch rubbed caused the plaintiff to become aroused.

Rodman frequently flies to Las Vegas to experience the casino ambiance. His attorney said that Rodman was just playing around and that his client is the victim of somebody trying to get rich at Rodman's expense. No word whether Rodman's "good luck" rubbings summoned Lady Luck or whether Rodman and his friend crapped out.


Mistaking a woman's breasts for either castanets or perhaps more good luck charms, Rodman has been hit with a second casino based lawsuit.

Dixie Johnson also seeks compensatory damages of $300,000 and punitive damages of $3 million. Ms. Johnson's suit claims; "On April 19, 1998 inside the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel and Casino, defendant without cause, consent or provocation, sexually assaulted plaintiff by physically grabbing her left breast and shaking it."

The suit claims Rodman's action violated the federal Violence Against Women Act.


Wonderful news that the man who has "really scared" Rosie Perez by stalking the talented actress has been apprehended. Beganiel Brooks, 27, who lives near Perez in Brooklyn, New York, was charged with harassment and trespassing by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office His bail was set at $10,000.

The It Could Happen To You star spent some time in Las Vegas filming a Mirador Films Spanish production called Perdito Durango. I was one of the extras who had a scene with the talented lady. The event had the extras all gussied up, as if celebrating New Year's Eve. We were suppose to walk along, gawking upward at the celebration, when the character Rosie portrayed - a bloody, disheveled creature - came walking through the crowd.

"She's just going to come barging straight through," the director explained. "When you feel her touch your left shoulder, take one step to the right so you don't get knocked over." I obeyed. Following the scene Rosie went to each of the extras she had bumped while doing her scene, shook our hands and thanked us. That was a very nice gesture.


Forever Tango

Forever Tango has taken Broadway by storm after winning rave reviews as a fabulous touring show. The beguilingly sexy dance musical played Las Vegas Jan 25-Feb. 7, l996 with hopes of being well enough received to make it to Broadway.

They succeeded.

Luis Bravo's Forever Tango, which received a Tony nomination for Best Choreography, is housed at the Marquis Theatre.

Forever Plaid
While Forever Tango played Vegas before Broadway the reverse is true of Forever Plaid.

That campy, delightful show was an off-Broadway hit at Steve McGraw's in New York and has turned into a long running Vegas staple at the Flamingo Hilton.

The production is the perfect spoof of those harmony groups that were so popular during the 50s and 60s. In this case, the Plaids temporarily return from the dead having been knocked into the afterlife by a busload of Beatles fans, just as the Plaids were on their way to their first big gig.

Apparently the Big Agent in the Sky realizes no performance, no commission - and the group is permitted to return for one night and perform. Forever Plaid is a wonderful production which is also going to have a production in Laughlin, Nevada July 7 - 13 at the Ramada Express Hotel.

Remember life is short. You too could be hit by a busload of Beatles fans. So, if you're ever in a city where Forever Plaid is playing, don't miss it.


NEW BUYERS FOR THE DEBBIE REYNOLDS HOTEL in Las Vegas have fallen through.

The multi-talented lady's spokesman said the company which runs the 193-room hotel, with a 500-seat showroom, is considering liquidation.

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THE LIZARD OF TARSUS will run through June 29th at the Triangle Theatre Company at The Church of the Holy Trinity in New York. Written by Jim Grimsley, directed by Joseph Megel The Lizard of Tarsus is a vaudevillian dialogue between an inquisitor named Paul and a political prisoner called J., addressing church hypocrisy, mob hysteria and lying to god.

DINAH WAS is a compelling musical biography of a gifted young singer, Ruth Jones, who in 1942 changed her name to Dinah Washington. Her climb to the top of the R&B charts was turbulent. She left an indelible mark on the music world. The production which won rave reviews at the WPA Theatre has moved to off Broadway's newest house, the Gramercy Theater. The stunning score features all of Dinah Washington's hits, including Come Rain or Come Shine, I Don't Hurt Anymore, and What a Difference A Day Makes, all performed by the talented Yvette Freeman. Both Ms. Freeman and her co-star, Adriane Lexon received Obie Awards for their roof-raising performances.

THANKS TO THE HIT TV SERIES Ally McBeal obscure backup vocalist for Jackson Browne, Vonda Shepard, has the No. 8 album in the country and is on a cross country tour, performing 30 dates in 36 days. Her Las Vegas stop is Thursday at Boulder Station.

KIN SHRINER , who plays Scotty Baldwin on ABC's Port Charles, played himself at the Las Vegas Soap Opera Expo 98, which took place last weekend. The event is a gathering of soap stars and their fans. Shriner returned to the soap opera world after taking five months off to teach a theatre class in Florence, Italy through the University of California, Los Angeles.

Copyright: June 15, 1998. 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
Next column June 22, 1998
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Laura Deni

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